The number of blue badge thefts has risen by a fifth in the past 12 months and has trebled in three years, councils warn.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed thefts of blue badges went up from 1,756 in 2014 to 2,056 in 2015.
This increase marks a rise in thefts for the third year running with 656 recorded in 2013.
Over two million disabled people use blue badges for free parking in pay and display bays and for up to three hours on yellow lines. In London, badge holders are exempt from the congestion charge saving them around £2,500 a year.
The LGA said councils continue to prosecute fraudsters who abuse the blue badge system. The number of people caught abusing the scheme has almost trebled in five years with 985 successful council prosecutions in 2015 – up from 330 in 2010.
‘The theft of Blue Badges is clearly a crime on the rise and it is alarming that incidents have trebled in just three years,’ said LGA Transport spokesman Cllr Martin Tett.
‘Illegally using a Blue Badge is not a victimless crime. For disabled people, blue badges are a vital lifeline that helps them get out and about to visit shops or family and friends. Callous thieves and unscrupulous fraudsters using them illegally are robbing disabled people of this independence.
‘Despite limited resources, councils continue to work hard to crackdown on this growing crime. More blue badge fraudsters than ever are being brought to justice by councils who will come down hard on drivers illegally using them.’