Published: 16:02, 08 February 2019
| Updated: 16:22, 08 February 2019
A woman was convicted after fraudulently using her grandmother's disabled parking permit.
Laura Halford, of Watling Street, Dartford, appeared at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court for misusing the blue badge.
The 31-year-old was handed a three-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud.
Halford was also told to pay £750 of costs.
Kent County Council's (KCC) Counter Fraud Team launched an investigation after receiving several reports of Halford's car displaying a Royal Borough of Greenwich blue badge in car parks around Sevenoaks.
She was given a penalty charge notice by parking officers after CCTV footage showed Halford parked in Buckhurst car park on January 2, last year.
Halford appealed the notice but was caught parking in a disabled bay in Suffolk Way car park the following day. She received a second penalty charge.
The blue badge holder was not present on either occasion.
In court the Watling Street resident admitted false representation of a blue badge and possessing an article for us or in connection of fraud.
This was the first prosecution from KCC's fraud them as it looks to crack down on the misuse of blue badges in the county.
Paul Rock, Counter Fraud Manager, said: “The vast majority of blue badges in Kent are used correctly and where there is an allegation of misuse we will investigate.
“As a council, our focus is on correcting behaviour through education and working with district and borough councils to ensure compliance.
“Cautions are a balanced way of dealing with offenders without going through the time and expense of a prosecution.
"However, in this case, Mrs Halford did not attend any interviews under caution and the level of evidence gave us no choice but to proceed with a prosecution.
“We take blue badge fraud extremely seriously and we expect more prosecutions in the near future.”
Under the rules governing the blue badge scheme, it is a criminal offence for a badge-holder or anyone else to misuse the badge and doing so could result a £1,000 fine and confiscation of the badge.
To help tackle abuse, residents who see a badge being misused to are asked to inform KCC by reporting it online at the kent.gov.uk blue badge page