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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

What to do if your vehicle has been cloned

If you are being contacted about fines or charges for which you are not responsible because someone else is using your registration mark, it is possible that your vehicle has been cloned.

Cloning involves the copying of the identity of a similar (non-stolen) vehicle already on the road. Criminals find an exact match of the car they have stolen, they then copy the identity of the legitimate vehicle, therefore making it look legal based on false number plates being fitted.

If you suspect your vehicle has been cloned, the following points will help you avoid becoming a victim of further crime.

What you need to do

  • return any fines or correspondence to the issuing authorities providing them with any documentary evidence you have to prove your case
  • write to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Swansea, SA99 1ZA or fax them on 01792 783 083, they will record your correspondence on the vehicle record for future reference
  • contact the police, it is a matter for them to trace and prosecute the culprit to prevent this illegal activity from continuing

What happens next

DVLA will give consideration to issuing a new registration mark on request if satisfied that there is a genuine case of vehicle cloning and that there is a recurring problem. Acceptable evidence might include applications to register and licence a vehicle from someone other than the registered keeper.

What is being done to stop cloning?

DVLA are working on a range of measures to seek to address the problem.

Since 1 January 2003:

  • all number plate suppliers in England and Wales must register with DVLA
  • registered suppliers must keep a record of every sale and must obtain documentary evidence of the customer's name and address and entitlement to the registration mark requested

This has for the first time, introduced some control over the supply of number plates, but further steps will have to be taken to make number plates more secure and make it more difficult for criminals to clone vehicles.

Amongst measures currently being investigated are the electronic tagging of number plates, the development of theft-resistant plates that cannot be used once detached from a vehicle and number plates that hold electronic information about the vehicle.

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