Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford man guilty of blue badge fraud after 191-mile walk

Blue disabled badge Image copyright PA
Image caption Paul Gregory went on trips with the Bedford Mountaineering Club whilst holding a blue badge

A man has admitted illegally using a blue badge after council officers spotted a newspaper report detailing how he was attacked by cows while on a 191-mile walk.

Paul Gregory, 51, from Bedford, who is also a member of the town's mountaineering club, claimed he could only walk 200 metres.

Luton magistrates heard he applied to renew his disabled person's badge saying short walks left him breathless.

He is due to be sentenced later.

The court heard Gregory, of College Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining a blue badge by "misrepresenting [his] physical abilities" - falsely claiming he could not walk for more than a few minutes.

But investigators found he had been on numerous walking trips with the Bedford Mountaineering Club whilst he both held, and was applying to renew, his badge, Bedford Borough Council said.

'Experienced walker'

Officers found a press article featured in the West Moorland Gazette in 2012, which stated the "experienced walker" had been on the third day of a 191-mile walk from Cumbria to North Yorkshire when he was "knocked over by four cows in a field at the edge of Shap" in Cumbria.

The council also found he spent a weekend walking in Capel Curig in Wales days before making an application.

A spokesman said it was one of the "most outrageous cases" of blue badge fraud it had investigated.

"He was taking part in national walking trips that many able-bodied adults would find difficult," he said.

"Mr Gregory's abuse of the scheme is completely unacceptable and we will continue to investigate all reports of blue badge fraud thoroughly."

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