Herefordshire saw a rise of nearly 20 per cent last year in the fraudulent use of Blue Badges in vehicles.

Drivers must have a Blue Badge to use disabled parking spaces, and their misuse is a criminal offence. They are issued by local councils at a charge of £10 and usually last three years.

In 2022 there were 64 cases of their misuse in the county, up from 54 the year before, according to a new report by Herefordshire Council’s counter-fraud manager Jonathan Nelson.

While there was a fall in the number of drivers using someone else’s badge, this was more than made up for by the number of expired badges found still in use.


Three further cases involved badges belonging to “deceased users” while two more concerned “fictitious or altered” badges, Mr Nelson’s report says.

These led to six prosecutions, 37 penalty notices and 21 written warnings. The badges were seized in all cases.

The county also saw a more than fourfold increase in new corporate fraud cases, from nine in 2021 to 40 last year, 16 of which related to council tax or benefit fraud.

Two criminal prosecutions arising from these are due in court shortly, one concerning two adult social care workers, the other relating to alleged fraud in claiming Covid 19 support.

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The council recovered nearly £250,000 from fraudulent Covid claims last year, on top of the £1.2 million it clawed back in 2021.

Herefordshire Council was also subject to 25 “malicious software incidents” in 2022, a similar figure to the two previous years.

Mr Nelson said there had been “a significant growth” in ransomware campaigns over the last year, with so-called phishing “the primary delivery method”.

“All the recorded incidents during 2022 were reported to have been unsuccessful,” he added.

Suspected cases of these and other forms of fraud can be reported on Herefordshire Council’s website.

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