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Number plate theft

Have the number plates been stolen off you car? Why would someone steal your number plates? What's that all about? It's not uncommon for number plates to be stolen from parked cars. It's easy to remove them.

Why would some one steal number plates?

The culprits may just be doing it for fun. But it's more likely that there are more serious motives.

  • Speeding

Stolen number plates are often used for storming past speed cameras. And the speeding tickets will, of course come to you.

  • Illegal parking

The parking fines will be sent to the apparent owner of the car.

  • Petrol drive-offs

They could also be used for petrol drive-offs. Most of us are aware that these days most petrol stations are fitted with cctv cameras to minimise petrol theft. That of course relies on the number plates being genuine. If your number plates have been stolen, you may find the police knocking on your door.

  • Disguising a stolen car

Making a stolen car look legitimate

  • Avoiding congestion charges

Or rather... having someone else pay them!


Some thieves are particularly clever - they target the number plates they steal, based on the model / colour of the vehicle they're attached to. They then attach the stolen number plate to a vehicle of the same model & colour. And that makes it much more difficult to prove it wasn't you. If you've had number plates made up for your car, you'll know that you need to provide the retailer with proof that you are entitled to the registration number. The DVLA introduced these rules around 5 years ago, to minimise the fraudulent use of number plates. Hence the upsurge in theft of number plates from cars.

What to do if your number plates are stolen

If you find your number plates have been stolen from your car...

  1. Inform the police. Contact the police to let them know as soon as you discover your number plates have been stolen. It may seem like a minor crime, but will help if they are used later for criminal purposes.
  2. Have new number plates made up Don't forget you will need proof that you are entitled to use the registration number. Reputable retailers will not make them up without this. You will need proof of identity (e.g. driver's license or utility bill), and your V5 log book.

It is also possible to buy theft resistent number plates.

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