Blue badge thefts up sixfold in five years

Councils have warned that the theft of Blue Badges used by disabled motorists in England has risen by 45 per cent in the past 12 months.

With the figures indicating a sixfold since 2013, the Local Government Association says that the increase, from 2,921 in 2017 to 4,246 in 2018, marks a rise in thefts for the fifth year running with 656 recorded in 2013.

More than two million disabled people use Blue Badges for parking in pay and display bays and for up to three hours on yellow lines. In London, badge holders are exempt from the congestion charge saving them around £2,500 a year. The figures also show that the number of people caught abusing the scheme has more than doubled with 1,215 successful council prosecutions in 2018 – up from 535 in 2014.

Martin Tett, LGA Transport spokesman, said: “Illegally using a Blue Badge is not a victimless crime. For disabled people, Blue Badges are a vital lifeline that helps them get out and about to visit shops or family and friends. Callous thieves and unscrupulous fraudsters using them illegally are robbing disabled people of this independence.

"Blue Badge theft is clearly a soaring crime and it is alarming that incidents have risen by more than 45 per cent in the past year alone. Despite limited resources, councils continue to work hard to crackdown on this growing crime. More Blue Badge fraudsters than ever are being brought to justice by councils who will come down hard on drivers illegally using them. It is important to catch these criminals in the act. To help councils win the fight against Blue Badge fraud, residents must keep tipping us off about people they suspect are illegally using a badge, bearing in mind people’s need for a badge might not be obvious.”

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