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Blue badge fraud – woman fined £400
A WOMAN who was caught using her dead mother-in-law’s disabled parking badge has been in court.
In the first prosecution of its kind in Southend, former midwife Sandra Parren appeared at Southend Magistrates’ court on charges of fraud. She had altered the date on the Blue Badge so she could use it three years after the death of Pearl Parren.
She was caught after parking in York Road, Southend, and displaying the badge in the windscreen on March 20.
The expiry date had been changed from 2011 to 2014, and the parking attendant became suspicious and issued a ticket.
This was compounded when Mrs Parren wrote to Southend Council in an attempt to appeal against the parking fine.
Parren, 56, of Thorpe Bay Gardens, Thorpe Bay, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.
She also admitted two counts of possessing an article for use in connection with fraud.
She told the fraud investigator she had been rummaging around in her car for loose change for the meter when she saw the badge.
Michael Vancoevorden, prosecuting on behalf of the council, said: “This is an unusual case. It’s the first one brought in Southend, although there have been a number of cases brought up and down the country at various other authorities.”
Penny Simons, mitigating, said his client was very sorry and embarrassed, and that her husband had talked her into appealing against the ticket.
She said: “He was very angry that she got the ticket. He insisted she appeal against it. She didn’t want to, but he insisted on it.
“He wrote the letter out for her and insisted she sign it. It’s not what she wanted to do. She just wanted to pay the ticket and be done with it.”
Ian Kirby, chairman of the bench, recognised it was a highly unusual case.
He said: “If we went strictly by our guidelines, you would be going to prison.
“We do accept our guidelines are not really intended to cover this sort of case. They are more for financial fraud, so we are going outside our guidelines and there will be a fine on each of the four counts.”
Parren was ordered to pay £400 in fines, £237.53 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.