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12 September 2017, 05:42
A priest who used a dead woman's disability parking badge has been handed a community order, a council said.
Anglican minister William Haymaker was found guilty in March of possessing an article for use in a fraud in relation to the blue badge.
The 63-year-old was sentenced on Monday at Hove Crown Court to a 12-month community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, East Sussex County Council said.
Haymaker, of Suffolk Road, Bexhill, was also ordered to pay £3,700 costs, the council added.
Haymaker, who said he provides pastoral care for the terminally ill, was caught using the blue badge to park in a disabled bay in Western Road, Bexhill, in December 2015, according to a council spokesman.
Mark Jobling, blue badge investigation officer for the council, said: "As an ordained priest, Haymaker is someone in a position of considerable responsibility and trust, who ought to set a good example for others to follow.
"Instead, he shamelessly used a blue badge belonging to a woman who had died and then tried to talk his way out of trouble with a series of excuses the jury unanimously rejected.
"Blue badge fraud is not a victimless crime and every time someone uses a badge illegally they are denying a disabled parking space to people who genuinely need one.
"This successful prosecution should demonstrate that we treat these offences with the utmost seriousness and won't hesitate to bring offenders to justice through the courts."