A BLUE Badge fraudster who used his father's out-of-date disabled parking badge dozens of times in car parks has been given a suspended jail sentence and a £2,215 bill by a judge.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 (Monday) 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 in 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 he obscured the date from view.

He also stated that Stuchbury was subject to suspended prison sentence when he was committing these offences.

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 is deeply embarrassed by his actions. He is not a well man and has a long list of ailments.

“He moved to Gloucestershire in 2016 to look after his parents at the same time his management company was going under.

“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.”

Judge Timothy Rose said: “These two charges are part of a wider picture of offending. In effect Stuchbury did it 62 times across two car parks, carried out over a protracted period of time.

“The first offence dates back to July 27, 2017 and the last on June 18, 2018 during which time he was subject to a suspended 20-month prison sentence order for VAT fraud.”

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

“However, having heard all your mitigation I feel I am just able not to activate your suspended sentence and I will punish you in a different way.”

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.

“If you wander off trying to find alternative ways to save money, you could find yourself in prison,” warned Judge Rose.