A disability charity has said blue badge fraud in Dundee is causing undue stress to genuine holders as it is revealed a tiny fraction of culprits are punished.
Some 23 allegations of misuse of the scheme were recorded last year but just one person was prosecuted, new figures from Dundee City Council reveal.
The £20 permits give concessions for on-street parking and may allow the holder to park in designated bays closer to their destination.
Jenny Miller, chief executive of Dundee-based Pamis, which supports people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, said fraudsters are depriving people of much-needed access.
She said: “To misuse or fraudulently use a blue badge is just really sad to be honest.
“We would urge anyone who is doing this to really think about the impact it has on people and families.
“It takes vital spaces away from them and can really add to stress, both in trying to find a space and potential arguments.
“Some are already socially isolated and this extra stress could put them off going out at all. They may just give up.
“I think the council are already very stretched so it’s difficult for them to catch these people.”
Blue badge expert and accessible transport campaigner Helen Dolphin MBE added she believes the number of fraud allegations in Dundee is “just the tip of the iceberg”.
She said: “Most local authorities do very little to combat fraud.
“They either turn a blind eye or pretend it’s not an issue. This is in spite of evidence showing in some cities four out of 10 badges are being used by someone who shouldn’t, usually another family member.
“Blue badge fraud is not a victimless crime, many disabled people suffer and local authorities need to stop pretending it is not an issue and do something about it.
“I suspect 23 allegations are just the tip of the iceberg. When I went out with a fraud team we caught about that number in one afternoon.”
Other areas across the UK have in recent years attempted to clamp-down on fraudsters.
Earlier this year, Aberdeen City Council introduced three undercover operations in an attempt to crack down on badge misuse.
They involve powers of clandestine surveillance and human undercover sources to fight counterfeiters and fraudsters.
Dundee City Council says it takes badge misuse “very seriously” and badges are cancelled if more than one misuse is recorded and repeated misuse can lead to prosecution and a £1,000 fine.
Over the past four years, seven people have been prosecuted in Dundee for alleged blue badge misuse while the council has received 78 complaints in total.