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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Theft resistant number plates

Number plate theft is on the increase, according to police data, an estimated 33,000 number plates were reported stolen during 2004.  It is, however likely that the figure is much higher given the level of unreported theft. Many of these plates are used for serious criminal activity.

Research commissioned by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), details some of this criminal activity. Stolen plates can be used to:

  • disguise stolen vehicles
  • conceal the true identity of vehicles used in criminal activity such as ram-raiding or theft of petrol from garage forecourts
  • sell a stolen vehicle as a legitimate one
  • evade traffic related fines including parking tickets, speeding fines and congestion charges

Why have DVLA introduced theft resistant number plates?

DVLA has been working with number plate manufacturers and others, to develop an agreed voluntary standard for theft resistant number plates which are designed to stop a thief re-using a stolen number plate.

There are numerous benefits the new plates can offer:

  • they will reduce the number of innocent car owners every year who are faced with motoring related fines for acts they did not commit
  • they will reduce the problem of vehicle cloning and the re-sale of illegal vehicles to unsuspecting motorists
  • they will tackle the problem of petrol station ‘drive offs'

The difference between theft resistant number plates and current number plates

Each theft resistant number plate fitted to a vehicle is designed to resist any known attack method for a minimum period of three minutes, ie it cannot be removed in a re-usable form in less than three minutes. Also, number plate manufacturers must develop these plates in accordance with the standard. 

The cost of theft resistant number plates

The new plates will cost approximately double the price of ordinary number plates, plus the motor dealer may charge a fee for fitting them. Please contact your local car dealer for further information.

What to do if your number plates have been stolen

DVLA advise you contact the police, as it is a matter for them to trace and prosecute the culprit to prevent this illegal activity from continuing.

Note: It is an offence to display the wrong vehicle registration mark on a vehicle with a maximum penalty of £1,000.

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