A PRIEST who used a dead woman’s blue disabled badge to park his car has been ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work.

Father William Haymaker, 63, was convicted of fraud after using the blue badge to park in a disabled bay in Western Road, Bexhill, in December 2015 – but it belonged to a woman who had died two months before.

His sentencing at Hove Crown Court this morning was delayed by around 90 minutes while staff tried to find a working hearing aid for the priest who said he could not hear proceedings from the dock without it.

Judge Christine Henson also ordered Haymaker to pay £3,700 in costs after she said his financial situation was “a little bit murky.”

She told Haymaker: “I don’t think this court has been appraised of the true picture of this financial situation.

“It is difficult to see what you are spending your money on.”

Haymaker claimed he received no money from his church despite claiming he was working flat out, attending between three and four funerals a day.

He previously told the court his work meant he was unsuitable for unpaid community work.

The judge said Haymaker was convicted on overwhelming evidence.

A jury took 45 minutes to unanimously find him guilty of possessing an article for use in a fraud earlier this year.

Haymaker, who was ordained in 1984, is a rector of St Paul’s Anglican Parish in Bexhill which is part of the Anglican Independent Communion.

The court heard he has no connection to the Church of England and regularly travels to Moldova.

Reverend Peter Gadsen said there is no such church in the parish, and contacted The Argus to say Father Haymaker is in no way associated with St Paul’s Evangelical Free Church, Bexhill, where he is a minister.

Haymaker also claimed to have worked for many years at British Airways.

But investigations by his legal team and prosecutors failed to find any evidence he ever worked for the airline, the court heard.

The priest said he was on medication for epilepsy and a number of other health issues.

He was again accompanied to court by his official clerical dog The Venerable Mr Piddles.

As well as supporting his parishioners and leading services Haymaker, of Suffolk Road, Bexhill, said he has been helping children in crisis for more than 25 years.