MORE than 2,500 tickets were issued to people wrongly using disabled parking bays in Glasgow.

Inclusion Scotland and Disability Equality Scotland expressed concern after a rise in the number of motorists being fined for wrongful use of disabled bays.

Glasgow City Council handed out 2,577 penalty notices to drivers who used the spaces without a blue badge last year – the highest number since before 2013.

And already this year enforcement officers have slapped 1,248 fines on cars parked illegally on the city’s streets and car parks.

Bill Scott, Director of Policy at Inclusion Scotland, said: “It’s a worrying trend and reflects the fact that people don’t think these spaces are necessary for those with disabilities.

“There’s a perception that everybody that gets a blue badge must be a wheelchair user when in fact many people with non-physical impairments are entitled to these badges.

“Without these spaces, disabled people can become trapped because they can’t access services such as shops, hospitals and GP surgeries.

“We have asked for stricter enforcement, so in some ways, these figures are encouraging as it shows that the council is taking the issue seriously. On the other hand, it may show that the problem is getting worse.”

Fines issued by the council have skyrocketed from 102 in 2013 to 1,989 in 2016 and more than 2,500 last year.

The majority, 7,811, have been given to those who have parked illegally in on-street disabled bays. In council-run car parks, 224 fines have been issued.

In the last five years, more than £186,000 in fines having been handed out by enforcement officers.

A spokesman for Disability Equality Scotland said: “The number of people that have been fined for parking in disabled bays without blue badges is alarming yet these figures from Glasgow are only the tip of the iceberg.

“There is nothing to make us believe that the public who abuse disabled parking bays are doing so unknowingly.

“We strongly feel that there are two elements to reducing disabled parking bay abuse; firstly, clear enforcement law and secondly, effective parking enforcement.

“At the moment the law does not go far enough to address the misuse of blue badges and that there is a need for a campaign, similar to that of drink driving, to make the use of disabled persons’ parking bays as socially unacceptable.”

The charity said that since Police Scotland began withdrawing traffic wardens in 2014, more people are choosing to park in disabled bays illegally.

Glasgow City Council confirmed it has 260 off-street disabled bays in its car parks with 2670 blue badge spaces around the streets of the city.

A spokesman said: “We are making a concerted effort to ensure disabled parking bays in our car parks and on city streets are used appropriately at all times.

“Where ever we identify a car in a disabled parking bay without a valid blue badge we will take the necessary action.

“Preventing the fraudulent use of blue badges is a clear focus of our enforcement regime.”