The DVLA and UK Government have tried to make it difficult to obtain fraudulent number plates with the introduction of the RNPS several years ago. Criminals could previously walk into a motoring shop and get any number plates made up over the counter without producing identification.
Now with the DVLA's RNPS (register of number plate suppliers) it is illegal to supply number plates for vehicles without the supplier being registered with the DVLA. The supplier also has to keep buyers records and identification. This has now made it more difficult for criminals and cloners to hide the vehicles identity and commit various other crimes involving vehicles.
With ANPR camera technology reading vehicle number plates both on motorways and in our towns and cities more and more "criminals" could decide to display false number plates to avoid being law abiding. Criminals easy option would be to steal number plates from an existing vehicle, rather than obtain them via the correct legal channels. Numerous crimes from fuel theft from petrol stations, contravening speed limits, parking restrictions and general laws regarding driving vehicles without correct taxation and insurance by displaying false plates, aswel as more serious crimes. The Police will then track the crime back to the real (innocent) vehicle owner. The crimes resulting from number plate theft can cause real problems and enormous hassle and distress for victims of stolen number plates, who have to deal with the fines, penalties and legal action which get wrongly issued to them.
CarReg are aiming to help combat the problem by offering "tamper-proof" anti theft screws which will make it much more difficult for opportunist thieves to steal number plates.
Cherished Number dealers trade bodies are of the opinion that it is less likely that your number plates would be targeted by thieves if your vehicle registration is personalised as an 'ordinary' standard issue registration mark stands out less therefore attracting less attention, which would suit most criminals trying to remain incognito!
What should you do if you have been victim of number plate theft?
- Try not to worry!
- Notify your local Police to report (get a crime number and date) & inform DVLA in writing.
- Purchase replacement number plate(s)
- Any fines or penalty notices you receive, return to sender with a letter explaining the situation.
- Consider purchasing a more distinct 'personalised registration' (perhaps less likely to be targeted by thieves)
- Take steps to avoid plate theft in future (tamper proof fixings, park in well lit areas, secure car parks with CCTV where possible
You can apply for new or replacement plates from the CarReg website and also select the Fixings to be anti-theft (tamper proof) for piece of mind and make removal of plates much more difficult for thieves.