A driver using a dead relative’s disabled parking permit was among dozens caught in a major anti-fraud crackdown.
Soaring numbers of blue badge-abuse culprits have been prosecuted – 22 facing fines and criminal records in the last six months alone.
That is almost three times more than the whole of the previous year as action to curb the problem is intensified.
Cheats have been caught by undercover city council sleuths acting on public tips and during spot checks of known problem areas.
They have handed over more than 30 files to the Procurator Fiscal since former financial crime investigator David Bell was hired to lead the campaign in June 2015.
All those charged have admitted the offence, which carries a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal conviction for dishonesty and deception.
The scale of the wrongdoing was greeted with shock yesterday when Mr Bell revealed the figures to a rights watchdog.
“It got to the point on patrols sometimes that there was so much abuse I was shocked when it turned out someone was using a badge legitimately,” he said at a meeting of Aberdeen’s Disability Equality Partnership (DEP).
In one case, he confronted a woman who claimed she was travelling with her disabled uncle but didn’t know where he was – or his name.
She had in fact been given the badge by her boyfriend and was also convicted of theft.
Another man was caught in a reserved parking space using a badge in the name of his father-in-law, who had been dead for three years.
Mr Bell said in 90% of cases the people who rightly held the badges were unaware family and friends were using them illegally to secure better parking spots.
But work was also being done to tackle a growing number of individuals faking disabilities to try to qualify.
He welcomed close co-operation with the police and prosecutors that had developed “a pretty smooth process” for rooting out cheats.
DEP chairwoman Dame Anne Begg said she hoped the prosecutions would send a stark warning to people of the consequences of getting caught.
“If we can get the message out that this is a serious offence, that it’s not just something you can laugh about or think doesn’t affect other people’s lives, then hopefully we can get the numbers down,” she said.
The wheelchair-using former Labour MP said: “The numbers being caught came as a big surprise to me.
“Clearly the enforcement officer who has been put in place is earning his money.
She added: “I think people think ‘it’s just a blue badge, it’s just parking, it’s not something that’s serious.
“But it serious for them if they get caught and it’s also serious for disabled people who end up travelling around town trying to find a parking space and can’t because people are abusing the system.”
Of the 23 cases referred to the prosecutor fiscal since June, one has been rejected, three are pending and 19 led to convictions.