"Perverse policy is putting disabled people at risk" due to blue badge theft, one resident has claimed.

Blue badge theft has increased over the past five years, given that badges are worth an estimated £6,000 a year equating to £18000 over its three-year lifetime.

New controlled parking zones due to be implemented in Hale End in Walthamstow have been dubbed a "safety issue" and "discriminatory" against disabled persons, one woman has claimed.

Kim Hands, 61, from Walthamstow had her car broken into twice in 2008 within the space of two months - with the thief seeking the "cash on her dash".

While making her permit application Ms Hands became confused by policy guidelines related to allocated parking bays and display of her blue badge.

The guidelines outline that residents are not required to display a blue badge in controlled parking zones in Hale End in Walthamstow.

However, there is an "anomaly" which states that when disabled drivers are parked outside their homes in allocated disabled bays, a blue badge must be left on display or risk a fine.

She confirmed this was the "bewildering" case with The Permit Applications Team NSL Services Group, which works in partnership with the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Ms Hands, a retired discrimination and equality policy advisor said: "I have no idea why the local authority has enabled such an anomaly to exist in the new regulations for the controlled parking zones.

"Failing to do so is putting residents at risk, as well as creating an additional burden on other public services, including their own blue badge team and the police.

"Being required to show a blue badge in a car at all times increases the risk of targeted theft and criminal damage to disabled people's car, especially if thieves learn where the disabled person is regularly parked and lives."

She added that the new scheme disadvantages disabled people who are unable to take their blue badge with them if they are taken out in another person's car.

She said: "Leaving a blue badge in a car all day every day in the same place is like having cash on the dash a real magnet for thieves.

"I cannot go through the blue badge thefts again: the experience was very frightening and upsetting, and creates unnecessary costs for the council, police and health services as well as costs to the car owner.

"This is direct discrimination, because it means the badge can only be used in one car, and the current policy puts vulnerable people at high risk of crime."

When Ms Hands addressed her concerns to a parking contractor she was told: "If you don't want to be as risk, then park further down the road in a general space."

In response to this, she said that the parking contractor had missed her point and that disabled people genuinely need spaces outside of their homes for ease of access.

Ms Hands has been working with Waltham Forest Councillor John Moss on this issue.

Cllr Moss said: "The council is moving in the right direction regarding the controlled parking zones policy pertaining to disabled drivers, but essentially there is a gap in the system at the moment. Drivers who have allocated spaces are unable to park outside their homes without displaying their badges. It is not a council policy, instead it is a policy with the blue badge system."

Ms Hands is now calling for a policy adjustment to allow digital passes or stickers for car windows instead of risking the safety of a disabled people.

Waltham Forest Council was approached for comment.