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Theft-resistant car number plates

How to combat cloning and other crimes

If the number plates are stolen from your car you should report it straight away – you might start receiving parking fines, speeding fines or worse as number plates are used to disguise the identity of cars used in a wide range of crimes.

Number plate theft is a big problem – rates have more than doubled in the last five years and there were at least 40,000 cases last year. Thefts from cars are significantly under-reported.

According to the DVLA Stolen plates are used by criminals to:

  • Change the identity of stolen cars so they can be sold
  • Disguise cars used in activities like ram-raiding or driving from petrol stations without paying
  • Evade congestion charges, parking and speeding fines

New tyres to the front or rear?

Check the handbook first as some give vehicle specific advice.

Generally it's good practice to fit the best/newest tyres on the rear – in wet conditions, this favours understeer rather than oversteer.

So if you have the front tyres renewed it's best to have the rear ones moved to the front and the new tyres fitted to the rear.

Tyres with deep tread are less likely to puncture and it's more difficult to control a car with a damaged rear tyre.

New standards
Number plate manufacturers, DVLA and others have developed a voluntary standard for theft resistant number plates.

Plates that meet the standard will resist known attack methods for a minimum of three minutes and can be expected to cost around twice the price of normal plates.

If you're in the process of buying a new car ask the dealer to fit theft resistant number plates when the car is first registered.

There are two main aftermarket suppliers with a small but growing network of agents across the country:
  • Fewer motorists facing fines for crimes they didn't commit
  • Fewer motorists innocently buying cars that turn out to be stolen
  • Reduced incidents of fuel theft

(updated 4 May 2012)