Over 500 number plates a week are being stolen in the UK by criminals targeting unsuspecting motorists, leaving many suspected of crimes from fuel drive offs to armed robbery.
Figures obtained by the AA show that over 25,000 plates were stolen in the UK last year in order to clone cars to be used in a wide variety of crimes. Criminals are using these plates to “clone” a similar make or model of car, making the vehicle much harder to trace back to the person/s committing the crime. The nature of these crimes vary, from petty driving offenses such as speeding and parking tickets to armed robbery or violent / gun crime.
Our local community in Stamford, Lincs has seen a large increase in the number of plate thefts in the past few month, prompting us to write this article. We hope that this article is of some help to both prevent and deal with the consequences of this crime.
What to do if your plate is stolen
If your plates are stolen you should report this to the Police as soon as possible. Do not ring 999, call 101 and report the offence to to your local force making sure that you obtain a crime number. Take detailed photographic evidence of your car and ensure you record details of your correspondence with the authorities. To prevent any fines for not displaying your number plates we suggest that the vehicle is removed from public roads until replacement plates are fitted.
If your plates are used on a cloned car to commit an offence it will be up to you to prove your innocence, the details above will go a long way to help you with this.
Can you drive your car on the road with no number plates?
Quite simply, no. You face a fine of up to £1,000 with incorrectly displayed number/ missing plates. You should not drive any vehicle on the pubic road with either missing, damaged or illegible plates. It is your responsibility and even the most understanding officer may still fine you even if you are the innocent victim of number plate theft. More details can be found on the Gov website below
Were can I get replacement number plates?
In the UK, number plates need to meet a number of strict requirements. To ensure any replacement plates are “legal” we suggest that you use the following page on the Gov site to find your nearest registered number plate supplier.
You will need to prove your identity (eg your passport) and show you’re entitled to the registration number (eg the V5 vehicle registration certificate) to order your new plates.
How can you prevent your plate from being stolen?
If a thief wants your number plate, they will have it. All you can do is make it as difficult as possible and help deter the theft in the first place. If you live in a high risk area we would suggest that you park your car in a well lit area. We also suggest you consider fitting some anti tamper / security number plate bolts / screws. These utilise a unique head pattern which requires a specific tool to unscrew the retaining bolts. These can be found at a number of outlets but we have found that Amazon offer great prices on these – see the links below
Let’s hear from you
Have you had your number plates stolen? Was your car used by criminals to commit an offence? Let’s hear about your experience in the comments below