Cherished Number Plates at Risk

Motorbike owners who display undersized number plates – including those frequently used for personalised plates will now risk having their cherished registration marks withdrawn by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and being issued with alternative ones.

The clampdown reflects the growing popularity of plates that use smaller-than-standard script, sometimes in order to squeeze a name or a word into one line, rather then breaking it into two lines. A recent joint operation between the DVLA and the police targeted bikers on their way to and from a motorbike show in Strathclyde. Thirteen riders were issued with warning letters, which gave owners 28 days to ensure their plates comply with the law or face losing the marks entirely.

Registration numbers remain the property of the secretary of state and can be withdrawn from a vehicle at any time” said a spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, who added that a misrepresented plate attracted non-endorsable fixed penalty notice. Number plates related issues do not, however, fall within the vehicle-defect rectification scheme, whereby owners must take a vehicle with, say, a faulty light to an MOT tester within 14 days to prove it complies with the law or face prosecution.

The DVLA said it was adopting a zero tolerance policy towards rule-breakers. “As soon as we become aware that a number plate is misrepresented, the DVLA would act and issue a letter instigating this process, whether as a result of a police operation or otherwise”

The agency confirmed that it will continue to work closely with the police on this type of operation and refused to rule out further similarly targeted campaigns.

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