MOTORISTS displaying dodgy Blue Badges are among almost 200 council crackdowns on fraud.

East Ayrshire probes into benefit cheats have led to the recovery of more than £62,000 in cash over the last year.

The council team dealt with 199 reports of con artists suspected of ripping off the council between April 2018 and March this year.

Claims relating to council tax, discretionary housing payments known as the bedroom tax, and crisis grants were investigated.

Three expired Blue Badges were seized by the council and three warning letters sent as part of investigations into disabled parking use.

T he number of fraud tip-offs received by the council from staff and residents has jumped by 50 per cent over the last year.

Cash recovered as a result of corporate fraud team (CFT) investigations totals£176,000 since 2016.

The service, which was established in 2016, runs in par tnership with North Ayrshire Council. The team is based in Irvine but has access to East Ayrshire information.

The CFT annual report was presented to the East Ayrshire governance and scrutiny committee last week (Thursday, April 25).

Head of the team Karen O’Hara said: “The number of referrals received by the team has increased steadily.”

Explaining the work to councillors, she said: “By its definition, fraud is based on deception. It is hidden until it is discovered.”

A council report said: “Every referral to the corporate fraud team is investigated.

“Some of the referrals remain under investigation and will result in future recoveries, some have been closed without issue and a number have been referred onto the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by the team.”

East Ayrshire’s fraud work got a thumbs up from accountancy firm Deloitte.

A report from Deloitte said: “We have reviewed the council’s arrangements for the prevention and detection of fraud and irregularities.

Overall we found the council’s arrangements to be operating effectively.”