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Donna accused of parking fraud

ACTRESS and model Donna Air fraudulently applied for a parking permit to avoid paying more than £5,000 (€6,000) in on-street parking charges, a court has heard.

The 32-year-old former Byker Grove star already had a parking permit in Westminster when she applied for another permit for her cream Mini Cooper in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a trial was told.

Drivers are not allowed to have two central London permits for the same car and the court was told Air had signed a declaration as part of her application which said she did not already have a permit for the car.


Air is charged with fraudulently obtaining a parking permit by false representation on January 21 last year.

Prosecutor Adrian Chaplin said there were enormous pressures on parking spaces in the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

He said: "Those who drive in from out of town have to contend with the parking charges levied upon them. The charges are considerable." Mr Chaplin said Air paid Kensington and Chelsea £110 (¤131) for a 12-month permit. Without it she could have faced annual on-street parking fees of up to £5,760 (¤6,785) to park close to her flat in the area.

He added: "These are two central London boroughs with pressure upon parking and a resident's parking permit is a worthwhile thing to have." He told the court the jury would have to decide whether her conduct was dishonest.

"Did she set out dishonestly and intending to make a gain for herself to fill out the form and did she sign something she knew was untrue or misleading?" he said.

The court was told Air's car received a ticket on April 4 last year after it was photographed in the Kensington and Chelsea with a Westminster permit on display.

Nicholas Day, a fraud investigator for Kensington, said he had written to both of Air's addresses in Pimlico and Holland Park asking her to return the parking permit but she had not replied.

Air also received a parking fine on June 7 when both permits were on display in her vehicle and another parking ticket on June 9, the court was told.

The case was adjourned to today when Air is expected to take the stand.