A car park with a disabled space

Woman fined over blue badge misuse

An Alnwick woman found guilty of misusing a disabled persons blue badge has been ordered to pay more than £2,000.

On 11th October 2023 Nicola Corness, 44, of Haven Meadows, Shilbottle, parked in a disabled bay in Morpeth displaying another person's blue badge on the dashboard, who was not in the vehicle. 

A County Council Civil Enforcement Officer patrolling the area asked to inspect the blue badge and tried to establish where the badge holder was. Nicola told the officer the person was attending an appointment in Morpeth and that she was parked in the disabled bay to pick them up. However, the person did not return to the vehicle and the Civil Enforcement Officer retained the blue badge.

An investigation by the Council's Corporate Fraud Team found that the badge holder had not been in Morpeth that day. Nicola Corness was invited to attend an interview to discuss the events of 11th October and her use of the blue badge, however she failed to attend or to engage with investigators.

She failed to attend Newcastle Magistrates Court on 7th June 2024 and the Magistrates found her guilty in her absence. They imposed a fine of £1,000 (the maximum that can be imposed under the legislation) and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £400 and costs of £604.44.

A County Council spokesperson said: "The blue badge scheme offers a much needed and often essential lifeline to those who have them. The County Council is committed to equality, accessibility, and fairness within our communities. Together, we want to send a strong message that misuse of blue badges will not be tolerated, and that we stand united in our resolve to ensure justice and convenience for those who rely on these provisions the most."

Earlier this year the County Council's Civil Enforcement Officers and Corporate Fraud Investigators joined 142 councils across the UK to take part in the National Blue Badge Day of Action 2024. Across the UK a total of 10,040 badges were inspected and 423 misuse offences detected.

Last year, 20 warnings and 4 Simple Cautions were issued for Blue Badge misuse in the county - many of those also received a Civil Penalty Notice.

The blue badge scheme rights and responsibilities are outlined in an information booklet sent out with all new badges and available online at The Blue Badge scheme: rights and responsibilities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Anyone who suspects the misuse of a blue badge is encouraged to report it https://reportafraud.co.uk/NCC

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