Has your number plate been cloned?
22 April 2020
/ Andrew Burgess
The number of people reporting that they’ve received motoring fines for offences that they haven’t committed as increased recently. In some cases, their car is supposed to have been hundreds of miles from where they actually were. What’s more, the people getting the fines can prove they weren’t where the fines were issued.
How is this happening?
Criminals are having number plates of other cars produced and are putting them on a car that they are driving. It can go unnoticed because they will choose a car that looks like the one they have, essentially cloning it. They note the registration of the lookalike car and check it’s taxed and insured. They will then get the number plate made up and put it on their car. The car looks identical, this means they can go through speed cameras and park where they want. The only person penalised is the person that has the original car and number plate when they get a fine in the post.
A recent BBC investigation in the midlands showed at least two retailers didn’t ask for any proof at all. The reporter was just able to give the registration number he wanted and buy a number plate – no questions asked.
Cloned cars are also being used in robberies, theft and bigger crimes. This means that the owner of the original car might find themselves being questioned by police. Having to go though questioning by police can be a stressful and worrying time – especially considering the person has done nothing wrong at all
If a number plate becomes damaged, a new one can be bought to replace it. Businesses that produce replacement plates must be registered with the DVLA. The DVLA stipulates that when buying a replacement number plate, the producer must check that the person is the owner or keeper of the car. Therefore, the person must show ID and their V5 logbook, proving that they are the owner / keeper.
What is being done to prevent it further?
The DVLA are said to be investigating further and do carry out spot checks to ensure that the procedures are being followed. The DVLA also advised motorists who believed their plates had been cloned to contact police immediately.
We can only hope that these instances are reducing, and criminals are finding it difficult to obtain clone plates in the future.