Couple sentenced for Blue Badge fraud in York

6 caught short fined

An investigation carried out by City of York Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a case of disabled Blue Badge fraud.

On 23 October, York Magistrates sentenced a couple from Malton to a 12-month conditional discharge each and ordered each to pay £200 in costs and £20 in surcharges.

David Wade (age 54 of Howe Court, Norton, Malton) was found using a family member’s blue badge for his own benefit in York city centre in April 2018, and later provided false information to the council on the matter. Marie Wade, (aged 51 of Howe Court) was found to have provided false information to the council regarding her husband’s actions.

An investigation into the misuse was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service. A Blue Badge can only be used when the badge holder is present or being picked up or dropped off at the point where the car is parked displaying the badge.

In April 2018, a council Civil Enforcement Officer encountered Mr Wade using a blue badge in central York. Mr Wade claimed he was picking up the badge holder and his wife who were nearby. However, he drove away after he was issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Later that day Mrs Wade called the council to complain that her husband had been parked waiting to pick up her and the badge holder who were now both left behind in York. Several weeks later the husband and wife submitted paperwork which repeated this allegation in an attempt to cancel the parking fine.

During Veritau’s investigation Mr Wade admitted that his wife and the badge holder were not in York when he displayed the badge and that at the time Mrs Wade was at their home in Malton. He told investigators that he wanted to visit the city centre during his lunch hour and to save time, drove in and displayed the badge. Mrs Wade admitted to investigators that she made the phone call to the council because she was worried about the consequences, should her husband’s actions be investigated further.

Mr and Mrs Wade pleaded guilty to all charges at York Magistrates’ Court on 23 October 2018.

Anyone with any information on fraudulent activity should please phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email fraud@york.gov.uk .

Magistrates sentence six for urinating in public

York magistrates have sentenced six people for urinating in public with a fine of £2541, following City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police action against alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

James Benjamin Moore (aged 27 of Woolnough Avenue, York) was sentenced yesterday (23 October) at York Magistrates Court for urinating against the wall next to a taxi rank in St Saviourgate York at 03:50hrs on Friday 20 July 2018. Mr Moore was noticeably intoxicated and continued to urinate despite noticing a police officer’s presence, when he then became increasingly aggressive when the officer asked for his name. Mr Moore pleaded guilty and was given a total sentence of  £447.

Jonathon Roy Alderson (aged 37 of Roebuck Ridge, Barnsley) pleaded guilty after urinating against private property near York Racecourse at 19:30 on the evening of Saturday 28 July 2018. Mr Alderson, who apologised upon seeing the police officer, pleaded guilty to urinating in public and was given a total sentence of £478.

On 23 October 2018, the court heard that Ellis Alex Parker (aged 32 years of Horsforth, Leeds) was found by police officers at 19:45 hours, Saturday 28 July 2018, urinating against a wall near Albermarle Road, York. When approached by the officer, Mr Parker became aggressive and began swearing and initially refused to give any personal details. Mr Parker pleaded guilty by post and York Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £460.

The court heard that Harry Edward Murphy (aged 18 of Stammergate, Ripon) and Owen Taylor Abbott (aged 18 years of Clotherholme Road, Ripon) were seen by a PCSO urinating against the shutters of Thomas Cook, Clifford Street, York in the late hours of Wednesday 15 August 2018. When approached, one of the males was apologetic for the offence, for which they were both cautioned and reported for summons. Both defendants pleaded guilty at York Magistrates court, Mr Murphy sentenced to pay £380 while Mr Abbott was sentenced to pay £409.

York Magistrates also heard a guilty plea from Tyler Anne Mathias (aged 23 of Richmond Drive, Goole) for urinating next to St Chad’s Church on Campleshon Road, York. Ms Mathias was visibly intoxicated when approached by the officer at 18:00 hours Saturday 25 August 2018, where she was no further than 200 hundred metres from toilet facilities at the racecourse. In mitigation, she said that she had been suffering from a water infection at the time and had to sprint across the road. Ms Mathias was sentenced to pay £367.

“I’m grateful to our partners North Yorkshire Police and the court for supporting our enforcement action. We will continue to prosecute individuals displaying alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the city.”

York blue badge cheat fined £478

City of York Council has  prosecuted a second individual for blue badge misuse who was directly identified from a council campaign.

Council civil enforcement officers and Veritau – the company that investigates fraud on behalf of the council – offered a two-week amnesty in July for the return of expired badges without question or fear of legal action being taken.

Once the amnesty passed, proactive ‘enforcement patrols’ were carried out across York in August and November. Enforcement officers and investigators checked badges on display to confirm that they were still valid, that the badge holder was present and using the badge. Where misuse was found, penalty charges were issued as well as criminal investigations instigated.

During the course of Veritau’s investigation Mr Balsham was interviewed under caution. He admitted that his mother, the badge holder, had not been with him and that he knew he could only park on double yellow lines if the badge holder was with him. Mr Balsham stated he parked on Blake Street because he was visiting a nearby tea room.

Mr Balsham had also made two appeals to his parking ticket which had implied his mother had been with him when it was given.

The investigation concluded with Mr Balsham pleading guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court on 13 February 2018. The court gave him a fine of £40 and he ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and court costs of £408.

 

A blue badge should be handed back to the council if:

· It has expired

  • · The badge holder is no longer eligible to use one
  • · It is a replacement for a badge lost or stolen and the original has since been found
  • · The badge is so damaged or faded that the details are not clear
  • · The badge holder has died.

£15 million York Council contract for security services

A new contract has been awarded to Gough & Kelly Ltd to run security services for the Council.

The contract started on 1st November and is expected to be worth £15 million over the next 5 years.

The services to be provided include, “Manned Guarding, Key Holding, Intruder Alarm Monitor and Investigation, Supply of Security consumables, locks, padlocks and locking systems”.

A separate contract sees the outsourcing of the Councils CCTV monitoring service

Given the size of the contract – and the sensitivity of CCTV monitoring – the contract has attracted remarkably little debate in the Council!

There has been a similar lack of debate about the cost of a one year contract for “Independent Mobility Assessments” for the issuing of disabled parking Blue Badges. The contract will be worth £52,950 and has been awarded to Premier Physical Healthcare Ltd

£15,457 penalties for Blue Badge on-line scammer

The conviction follows an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team

A man and his company who misled disabled people into paying £49 a time for Blue Badge parking permits was sentenced to financial penalties totalling £15,457.35 yesterday (30 March 2017) at York Magistrates’ Court.

Ramiro Rohan Depass, aged 23 of Thameshill Avenue, Romford, Essex, pleaded guilty to misleading consumers by using copycat websites to sell Blue Badge parking permits, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  He was fined £1,230, ordered to pay £5,139.98 compensation to 102 of his victims, and pay prosecution costs of £4,847.37 and a victim surcharge to the Court of £120.  His company, Impetus Solutions Limited, was fined £4,000 and pay a victim surcharge of £120.

Depass’s activities came to light after over 100 complaints were made to the Citizens Advice  and Action Fraud helplines over an eight-month period in 2015/16, triggering an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team.

Depass’s scheme worked by diverting those searching online for Blue Badges to apply via his own website, meaning that badges were never issued. Disabled drivers were charged £49 for these non-existent badges, which are normally bought from the local council for £10.

In April 2016 officers from the National Trading Standards eCrime Team (NTSeCT) raided a house in Romford and found documents linking Depass to the scam. He presented himself to police later that week.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at City of York Council, said: “This profiteering is despicable and shows a casual disregard for the law alongside a willingness to exploit vulnerable people genuinely eligible to hold a Blue Badge. I applaud our expert investigators for unveiling and successfully prosecuting another ecrime which impersonates legitimate, at cost local authority services.”
(more…)