HAMPSHIRE County Council has not prosecuted a single person for misusing disabled parking permits in the current financial year, it has been found.

The authority took no legal action against the crimes since April last year.

It comes after new figures found that 94 out of 152 English local authorities across the country did not pursue anyone for abusing the blue badge scheme.

The permits allow holders to park free of charge in pay and display bays and for up to three hours on yellow lines, while those in London are exempt from the congestion charge.

Hampshire did not give a figure for cautions - which can be served as an alternative to a prosecution - but says it will take action “where deemed necessary” and has retained almost 1,300 badges in the past three years.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “We do take action to address the misuse of blue badges. Regular, planned on-street inspections take place across the county and penalty charge notices are issued where it is suspected that a blue badge is not being used in accordance with the rules.

“If it is found that a blue badge is being used inappropriately, a formal warning is issued and the badge may be retained. There are over 60,000 badge holders in the county and in the last three years we have retained almost 1,300 badges.

“Additionally, our district and borough council partners, through their usual parking enforcement duties, assist in identifying cases where the blue badge may be being used inappropriately, which we will then investigate. Where deemed necessary, further action is taken.”

Nationally, the number of blue badges reported stolen increased by 45 per cent to 4,246.

Phil Talbot of disability charity Scope said: “It’s disgraceful that so many local councils have failed to take action against people misusing blue badges – particularly at a time when thefts are on the rise.

“Stealing blue badges isn’t a crime without consequences. They are a vital lifeline for those who genuinely need them.

“Many disabled people rely on their blue badge to live independently, be part of the local community and contribute to their local economy.

“The police and councils need to do all they can to ensure they are serving their disabled residents by cracking down on this abuse.”