A CRACKDOWN begins tomorrow (Monday July 7) over the misuse of parking badges.

Durham County Council’s enforcement officers will target motorists abusing the blue badge scheme, which allows disabled drivers to park closer to shops and other amenities.

Officers will be checking that badges displayed in windscreens are genuine and are being used by the holder to ensure drivers with genuine disabilities can access the parking spaces they need.

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Misuse and abuse of a blue badge is a criminal offence which can lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

Councillor Neil Foster, council cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Being able to park closer to shops and amenities is vital for people with disabilities.

“Anyone who abuses that right is committing a criminal offence as well as making life much more difficult for those with genuine disabilities.

“By targeting those who misuse disabled parking badges we are making sure that there will be plenty of parking spaces for people who really need them.”

Members of the public can report suspected fraudulent use of blue badges by ringing the council’s hotline, on 08000-321663, with calls free from a landline, or by texting Fraud, followed by the details, to 0778-602 7280.