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Woman fined for mis-using mother’s blue badge

Jun 8, 2023 | Local News

Two people have been fined for mis-using Blue Badges after parking in disabled bays on the same street in Hartlepool.

Durham County Council took legal action against Karen Summerbell, of Willow Drive in Trimdon Village, after a civil enforcement officer at Hartlepool Borough Council observed her parking in a disabled bay on Waldon Street in Hartlepool.

The officer saw the badge did not match Summerbell or her passenger and, after inspecting it further, found the badge belonged to a different person.

Summerbell told the officer the badge belonged to her mother and she was using it as she had hurt her knee. Due to the badge holder not being present, the officer confiscated the badge and returned it to Durham County Council.

Durham County Council officers then spoke to the Blue Badge holder who confirmed she was not present in the vehicle when it was being used by Summerbell, and the badge was returned to her.

Summerbell, 62, pleaded guilty to mis-using a Blue Badge and was ordered to pay a £40 fine, £445.25 costs, and a £16 victim surcharge.

The following day, Hartlepool civil enforcement officers observed Jamie Leigh, of Jack Lawson Terrace in Wheatley Hill, park in a disabled bay on Waldon Street.

After finding that the Blue Badge did not match Leigh or his passenger, Leigh confirmed that it was not his and the badge holder was at home.

The officer confiscated the badge and returned it to Durham County Council, where County Durham officers spoke to the owner of the badge and confirmed it had been used without them being present.

Leigh attended an interview with the council where he acknowledged he should not have used the badge.

The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to mis-using a Blue Badge at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to pay a £125 fine, £445.26 costs, and a victim surcharge of £50.

Tracy Henderson, Durham County Council’s chief internal auditor and corporate fraud manager, said: “Blue Badges exist to allow people with a disability to access designated parking spaces which are provided close to amenities and services. Both Summerbell and Leigh’s actions had the potential to prevent a Blue Badge holder accessing a disabled space and being able to access those services.

“We hope the financial and criminal penalties will serve as a warning to Summerbell, Leigh, and other members of the public that Blue Badges are for the benefit of the owner only, and legal action will be taken in any case where this is abused.”