Campaigner battles dozy parkers over disabled spaces

An offending vehicle in Market Rasen's Tesco car park
An offending vehicle in Market Rasen's Tesco car park

Craig Courtney of Market Rasen has been waging a one-man campaign against motorists misusing disabled parking spaces.

He has been photographing offending vehicles in the Tesco car park and talking to the genuinely disabled.

They agree with him that there is much abuse of the parking spaces.

“It’s downright laziness”, “Mickey takers”, “They abuse the system and have no respect,” they told him.

Craig’s photographic campaign led to Tesco staff coming out to investigate. Eventually, he was able to speak to store manager Ian Black about the problem.

Ian Black told the Rasen Mail that Tesco in Market Rasen has 12 disabled parking bays, and rarely are they all taken. Store staff will issue warning labels to offending motorists without a Blue Badge, but they will not confront anybody who has a Blue Badge and may not appear disabled.

“We cannot issue fines. We can only ask them to stop parking there. There is no enforcement because it’s a private car park,” he said.

Craig, who has disabled family members, accepts Tesco makes checks, but believes stores can do more to stamp out such abuse.

“Those who are clearly not suffering any disabilities are just abusers of the system. This was plain obvious from the pictures I took and the observations I made,” he said.

Lincolnshire Police say they cannot enforce parking at supermarkets as it is private land.

Blue Badges and why so many free spaces?

The law dictates stores must provide more parking spaces than may actually be needed.

Supermarkets, shopping centres and leisure centres must allocate up to 6 per cent of their parking bays for disabled badge holders- even though just 1.4 per cent of the population is registered disabled.

This means these priority spaces- which must be near an entrance to shops- are rarely full, offering temptation to those who are lazy or in a hurry.

Worsening the problem is that supermarkets, like other off-street car parks, are not covered by the Blue Badge Scheme. That makes it harder to stop people using disabled parking spaces when they should not.

Some supermarkets have tried issuing fines but have found it too difficult to enforce when drivers have appealed. All they can do, is ask for the driver to move their car from the reserved space - but they cannot legally insist upon it.

For on-street car parking, which is covered by the Blue Badge Scheme, the police and traffic wardens can not only investigate, but also issue fines of up to £1,000.