A Blue Badge fraudster who used his father's out-of-date disabled parking badge dozens of times in Cotswolds car parks has been given a suspended jail sentence and a £2,215 bill by a judge.

Harold Stuchbury, 61, of Athelstan Road, Malmesbury, was prosecuted by Cotswold District Council after his attempts to hide the date on the blue badge failed in two car parks in Cirencester and wardens were alerted to his fraud.

At Gloucester crown court yesterday he admitted two specimen counts of fraudulently using the badge issued on July 27, 2017 and on February 6, 2018.

The court was told Stuchbury had committed similar offences on 62 occasions.

Alun Williams, prosecuting, said the number of offences showed that Stuchbury was persistent in behaving on a fraudulent manner.

He added that Stuchbury had used his father’s disabled blue badge that had expired in June 2017 and when he parked up he obscured the date from view.

Mr Williams said: “The specimen charges related to the brewery car park on July 27, 2017 and another Cirencester car park on February 6, 2018. There was an attempt to hide the date on the badge in both cases.”

Joe Maloney, defending, said: “Stuchbury only started offending at the age of 58. When he became short of money he resorted to trying to save £35 a week in car parking by using the disabled blue badge.

“During this time he was making decisions he would not normally do.”

The judge told Stuchbury: “In normal circumstances I would not be considering a prison sentence for the fraudulent use of a disabled blue badge, but you have breached your suspended sentence order and I need to consider all options.

“You have already entered into payment programme with the district authority to pay back £1,790 in parking penalty charges- that’s a significant penalty already."

The judge sentenced Stuchbury to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. He also fined him £200, ordered him to pay £1,900 towards court costs and a victim surcharge of £115.

Cllr Mark Harris, cabinet member for parking, said: “As a council, we felt there was no option but to prosecute Mr Stuchbury who not only caused a financial loss to the public purse but also showed contempt for the Blue Badge parking system. 

“Abusing the Blue Badge permit system is contemptible and has a negative effect on those disabled individuals genuinely in need of parking provision. 

"I would encourage anyone with concerns for individuals abusing the Blue Badge system to report any incidents to our Counter Fraud Unit.”