A MAN who found a disabled blue badge in a car he bought fraudulently used it to park on double yellow lines.

Lee Smith admitted unlawful use of a disabled person's badge after he was confronted for parking on double yellow lines in the Southend borough.

Smith, of Norfolk Avenue, Leigh, came to the attention of Southend Council's counter fraud officers who were investigating allegations of blue badge fraud.

The 40-year-old was parked on double yellow lines near a school and officers asked to inspect the blue badge he was displaying.

Smith allowed the officer to retain the badge for further checks and gave a false return address for it.

Officers managed to trace Smith and he made a full admission in an interview. The original owner lost the badge during a car sale, and the badge was discovered in the glove compartment of the car.

On Tuesday at Southend Magistrates Court, smith admitted unlawful use of a disabled person’s badge contrary to S117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Ron Woodley, councillor responsible for transport, capital and inward investment said: “Blue badge fraud is estimated to cost councils across the country £46m each year.

“We wholly support the use of blue badges for the most vulnerable members of society, but this sort of activity undermines a scheme aimed at assisting those that need it.

"We also have a duty to protect and act against those who fraudulently misuse these badges.

“If anyone has suspicions concerning similar Blue Badge misuse, or other types of corporate fraud then please call the counter-fraud and investigation team on 01702 215254 or e-mail counterfraud@southend.gov.uk.

"All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.”