NEARLY 50 blue badges have been seized by Dudley Council in recent months after people were found to be misusing them.

The local authority has taken back 47 disabled parking permits, referred to as blue badges, since November last year following a number of cases where motorists have used someone's blue badge when the person eligible for it was not with them or they have remained in the car.

The parking permits allow eligible people to park in specific spaces on car parks, sometimes for free, as well as on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if safe and not causing an obstruction.

Those eligible include people unable to walk or who have considerable difficulty walking 80 metres and people who have a hidden disability and qualify under new rules introduced in 2019.

The badge can only be used by the named permit holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the badge holder from where the vehicle is parked.

It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use the badge in any other circumstances.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: "Blue badges are there to be used by the people in our communities who are most in need. Anyone who misuses a blue badge is taking a space from someone who really needs it.

"They are breaking the law, and this must stop. We will be proactively protecting the rights of people who have blue badges and pursue misuse through the courts.

"Anecdotally, blue badge holders have told us they welcome the action we are taking."

In cases where badges have been seized, they have been returned to the rightful owner with a reminder on how the parking permit scheme should be used.

The council has been working in partnership with BBFI, a public sector not-for-profit investigation specialist which will continue to monitor the situation and seize badges being used fraudulently.