York man in court for mis-using dead relative's disabled badge

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , mark.stead@thepress.co.uk

A PENSIONER has been fined after he altered a dead relative’s disabled permit to park his car in York.

Allen Ibbotson, 68, tried to change the expiry date on the blue parking badge, which belonged to his late mother-in-law, so City of York Council parking officers would not see that it was no longer valid when he used a disabled bay. His fraud was spotted by parking officials and investigators were called in.

York Magistrates’ Court was told Ibbotson, of Heather Bank in Osbaldwick, made the alterations so he could use the badge himself. Ibbotson told the hearing he parked in the disabled bay at Castle Car Park, near Clifford’s Tower, on April 17 because it was raining and the spot was nearer his destination than other free parking spaces.

During a routine patrol, a parking officer from the council, noticed an “inconsistency” in the information on the badge and carried out further checks, which showed it had expired.

Veritau, the company which investigates fraud on the authority’s behalf, was called in and Ibbotson was challenged about his use of the badge.

He admitted misusing the badge and was fined £60 and ordered to pay £250 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge, as well as having to pay the £35 penalty charge notice issued for parking in a designated disabled person’s parking place without displaying a valid disabled person’s badge “in the prescribed manner”.

The council said the prosecution was only the second of its type in York, with the previous case having been in 2009.

A Veritau spokesman said: “Disabled parking badges are issued to those with mobility problems so they can park close to where they need to go. Individuals who misuse or alter badges to avoid parking charges and park in restricted areas prevent those in need from accessing facilities.”

Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns at the Disabled Motoring UK charity, said: “This man certainly knew better and knew what he was doing was wrong by tampering with the badge.

“We are disappointed that he was only fined £60 because the maximum fine is £1,000, and we would like to see many more cases of people being taken to court, because that is the only way we will stop this.”

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