Thefts of parking permits for disabled motorists have quadrupled in the past four years, new figures show.
Some 2,921 blue badges were reported stolen in England last year, compared with 656 in 2013, the Department for Transport reports.
They are sought after because badge holders may park free of charge in pay and display bays and park for up to three hours on yellow lines, as well as using disabled spaces. In London holders can also apply for congestion charge exemption.
Last year English councils took legal action against 1,131 motorists for blue badge misuse.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: ‘For disabled people, blue badges are a vital lifeline that helps them get out and about to visit shops or family and friends.’
About 2.4 million disabled people in England have a blue badge. Last month the DfT announced plans to make them available to a million more with ‘hidden’ disabilities.
If you’re not entitled to using a blue badge, you shouldn’t be trying to take advantage of the system by stealing one. Blue badge holders have a recognised condition, and have been through a lengthy process to receive one, and this should be respected.