Huge numbers of drivers are now having their number plates stolen, according to new research by the RAC. The organisation sent Freedom of Information requests to 34 police forces and based on the responses it received, it has revealed that more than 20,700 number plates were stolen in England and Wales during 2014 – an average of 56 per day.
Why are criminals stealing just the car’s number plates?
Put simply, to disguise their own cars, or cars they plan to use for criminal purposes. One of the most common ways to use stolen number plates is in fuel theft. Drivers attach stolen number plates to a car and then drive into a fuel station, fill the car with fuel and drive off.
But fuel theft isn’t the only reason number plates are stolen. Cars with stolen plates have also been used in other crimes, including shop lifting, burglaries or robberies.
If your number plates are stolen, you could end up with bills and parking fines piling up at your door. Other cases have involved drivers avoiding paying for insurance or tax by attaching stolen number plates to cars of a similar make, model and colour, and then driving around without the risk of triggering automatic number plate recognition systems on police cars.
Why do I need to be concerned?
If your number plates are stolen and attached to a car used in a crime, police will use the number plate details to trace the car, which will come back to wherever the car is registered, so you could find the police knocking at your door. Worse still, if the number plates have been attached to a car of a similar make, model and colour to yours, you would have to prove it wasn’t you. If you don’t happen to have a good alibi, that could land you in all sorts of trouble.
How can I prevent my number plates being stolen?
First, follow the usual car theft prevention tips. Make sure your car is always parked securely in a well-lit area, as close as possible to your home or the place where you’ll be staying. It’s a good idea to leave it in sight of buildings or offices, or even better, to park it in an area with CCTV coverage.
What should I do if my number plates are stolen?
If the worst should happen and you find yourself a victim of number plate theft you can report it on 101, the police non-emergency number. What’s more, they may be able to track down the offender or even stop them while out on the road. You should also get your number plates replaced as soon as possible, so that your car is road legal again.
You can purchase a new set of number plates from us at Griffin Mill from as little as £10*.
Taken from an original article by The Telegraph.
* Vehicle registration document and a form of ID must be present when ordering.