Buckinghamshire Council cracks down on fraudsters

Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging residents to help them fight fraud as part of International Fraud Awareness Week (12 to 18 November).

The council's Fraud Team tackles housing benefit cheating, council tax scams, cybercrime and more. Losses from fraud cost taxpayers thousands of pounds yearly.

Recent action by the Fraud Team includes a joint operation with Parking Services aimed at targeting Blue Badge misuse. Investigators caught several people using expired badges or overstaying time limits in disabled parking bays. Offenders were issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for their parking contravention and sent warning letters.

Commenting on the operation, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Steven Broadbent, said:

“Blue Badge misuse is not only fraud, but also a serious problem for our most vulnerable residents who rely on the scheme to access essential services and facilities. By parking in disabled bays without a valid badge, offenders are taking away spaces from those who really need them, causing them unnecessary inconvenience and stress.

“The recent successful operation by our teams to identify those who misuse Blue Badges – whether they are expired, stolen or used by someone else – sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this dishonest and selfish behaviour: we will find you and we will take action.

“Suspected abuses of the Blue Badge scheme should be reported to us via our website.”

Nationally, fraud costs the public sector £50 billion annually – that’s around £1,000 per household. And of all crimes committed in the UK, fraud is estimated to account for 40% of them.

John Chilver, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Accessible Housing & Resources, commented:

"We do not tolerate fraud in Buckinghamshire.

“We take all fraud allegations seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to report it. If needed, this can be done anonymously.

"Fraud harms all Buckinghamshire residents by diverting funds away from essential services. Which is why we should all be vigilant – your tip-off could stop the cheats."

Frauds, scams or other suspicious activity in Buckinghamshire should be reported via the council’s website.

Tips and advice on becoming ‘fraud aware’ are available on the Action Fraud website.