SIXTEEN 'irresponsible' motorists were caught illegally using blue disabled badges during the latest crackdown on this abuse of privilege in Harrow town centre.
The permits allow cars carrying drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems to stop on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours in England and Wales, except where there is a ban on loading or unloading.
And they can park for free for any length of time at on-street parking meters and pay-and-display machines.
Officers from Harrow Council's corporate fraud team and Harrow Police confiscated 16 blue badges during a four hour operation in Greenhill Way and Havelock Place on Thursday December 9 and fined the offenders £30 or £50 each.
One driver was arrested after he was found in possession of a stolen badge and another belonging to his late grandfather that had been allegedly doctored.
He was released on police bail after questioning and enquiries are continuing.
Avani Modasia, Age Concern Harrow's chief executive, said: “We fully support these operations by the council and would like to see even more to protect the parking rights of older people.
“I know so many people who rely on their blue badges to carry on living their lives to the full, and people who abuse them threaten to rob them of their independence.
“I urge anyone who thinks about using the permits fraudulently to think about their older friends or relatives who might be affected, and don’t do it.”
Councillor Graham Henson (Labour), Harrow Council's portfolio holder for performance, customer services and corporate services, said: “Those irresponsible few who abuse the system, particularly over the Christmas period when parking spaces are at an added premium, need to get the message: it’s irresponsible, illegal and we will continue to take action to protect priority parking.”