Blue badge permit warning
Good Samaritan faces fines for using disabled person's badge
A GOOD Samaritan faces the full force of the law after giving a frail pensioner a lift to a shopping centre and parking in a disabled person’s bay using the elderly widow’s blue badge.
Unknown to the driver, the expiry date on the permit had been altered – possibly by someone trying to help the pensioner beat bureaucracy – and the motorist now faces a fraud charge.
She helped the pensioner back to the car and found a €100 spot fine attached to her windscreen for unlawfully using the marked disabled parking area.
However, the situation got worse for the unnamed Calpe driver when she was informed she was being prosecuted for altering an official government document and she faced a €5,000 fine or two years in prison.
At Calpe town hall, councillor Carole Saunders is attempting to help a motorist who innocently only thought she was doing her good deed for the day and warned of the dangers of misusing the official permit.
She said the blue badge scheme in Spain offered the same advantages as the UK scheme – recognised across Europe – but it could take 18 months to obtain the permit.
Mrs Saunders said if a blue badge was misused; for example the person to whom it was issued was not in the car and it was being employed for the driver’s personal benefit, a spot fine could follow.
“However, if you have altered the information on the blue badge in any way, for example the expiry date or the name on the blue badge, that is considered to be fraud – because you are tampering with an official government document,” she said. “If convicted, you can face a fine of up to €5,000 or face up to two years in prison.
“Unfortunately, a driver may unwittingly be given an altered badge to take someone somewhere, not realise it has been tampered with...and find themselves in court.”