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Theft resistant number plates

Number plate theft is on the increase according to police data. Many of these plates are used for serious criminal activity. Research commissioned by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), 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 and speeding fines

Why has the DVA introduced theft resistant number plates?

The DVA 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.

The numerous benefits the new plates can offer include:

  • reducing the number of innocent car owners every year who are faced with motoring related fines for acts they did not commit
  • reducing the problem of vehicle cloning and the re-sale of illegal vehicles to unsuspecting motorists
  • tackling 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 meaning that it can't 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

The DVA 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.