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Number Plate Cloning is a crime

Cloned Registration Plates

An undeserved driving penalty arrives

A car owner receives a letter informing them that their car has been captured on CCTV driving over the Dartford bridge 5 times. The authority in charge is demanding the payment of a £100 fine. However, the driver hasn’t been anywhere near that area for 18 months. Something has gone wrong. The car owner needs to act quickly. Has the innocent car owner’s number plate been cloned? Is it in use on a similar vehicle?

ANPR fault or Cloned plates

For the example above – assuming the vehicle has genuinely not been near the Dartford tunnel the options are either:

  1. The ANPR system (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) has made a mistake. It does happen sometimes. However, it’s unlikely that the system has incorrectly associated someone else’s registration number to the SAME model of car as the innocent driver on multiple occassions.
  2. The Vehicle Registration number plate has been CLONED. Someone has fraudulently produced number plates that are a correct match for their vehicle make and model (or a model very similar). For example, the innocent driver has a Navy Blue Ford Fiesta registration ABC123Y. The fraudster either owns, or often rents, the same make & model. They then fit the cloned plates and driving arond committing their offences.

What to do if you’ve been Cloned

If you have been incorrectly identified as the driver committing a driving offence you will need to prove your innocence. Convince the authorities that your vehicle was NOT in the area concerned at the time of the offence. Maybe you were parked in a local car park with CCTV. Maybe you were using your vehicle for work in your area – miles from where the offence was committed. Collect as much evidence as you can to support your claim of innocence. Make the suggestion that your number plates must have been cloned.

If you believe your number plate has been cloned contact your local police authority and the DVLA.

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Avoid buying a Cloned Vehicle

As many as 1 in 3 cars have a hidden past. When buying a car for many thousands of £’s surely it’s just a matter of common sense to pay for a car data check to ensure the vehicle you are buying has nothing to hide. Popular car data checks will check to see if your car has ever been stolen, whether it has valid vehicle tax, obtain a full MOT history and much more. Please consider using one of the services offered by our affiliated partners above (HPI check or MyCarCheck)

How do criminals get the plates made

When purchasing registration plates from a respectable source the company will ask for evidence the customer is the legal owner of the vehicle. A registered number plate supplier will ask to see evidence of the following

  1. Your personal identity eg. Driving Licence or Passport
  2. Your address eg. utility bill, bank statement
  3. Proof of vehicle ownership eg V5C or similar

The GOV.uk site can help you to identify your nearest registered number plate supplier – just enter your post code here (external link)

The criminals method

Criminals take advantage of unscrupulous individuals who bypass the system and manufacture the registration plates WITHOUT undertaking any of the checks detailed above. A recent (Sept 2018) BBC programme – Inside Out – tracked several such businesses and highlighted just how easy it is to get hold of illegall cloned number plates. For more details please see the BBC report on cloning number plates (external link)

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