Sussex man who faked doctor's letter to claim Blue Badge caught through 'grammatical errors'

East Sussex County Council say if you meet the nationally-set criteria for a blue badge, there is no need to lie. Credit: PA/Wires

A man from Eastbourne man who faked a medical letter to try and claim a Blue Badge has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Riccardo Gresta, 45, from Elms Avenue forged a letter from a neurologist, claiming he was unable to walk any further than 20 metres.

He submitted the letter to East Sussex County Council in an attempt to support his application for a Blue Badge.

But council officers noticed obvious grammatical errors in the letter, leading to an investigation.

The hospital involved confirmed the letter had not come from them. But when interviewed by the council, Gresta denied he had produced the letter, and even made a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsmen.

Gresta pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at an earlier hearing. He was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years at Hove Crown Court.

Sentencing on Thursday, December 22, Recorder Mercer told Gresta: “What you did was look at a genuine letter from a neurologist which was a letter from a Mr. Anderson.

"You used that letter to cut and paste a different letter purporting to be from an Angus Anderson.

“It was not immediately obvious that the letter was a forgery, but the local authority are used to fraudulent claims and looked at it carefully.”

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “This conviction is the result of the hard work and dedication of our Blue Badge team and should act as a deterrent to anyone thinking they can use false information or documents to get a Blue Badge.

“We will not tolerate any kind of fraudulent activity – if you genuinely need a Blue Badge and meet the nationally-set criteria, there is absolutely no need to lie."