Protecting yourself from number plate theft

Number Plates

The theft of number plates is more common than you might think. We all have number plates on our cars, so we’re all at risk. If your number plate goes missing, you might dismiss it as an annoying prank by kids, but the reality is more serious. Your plates could well be used to commit a crime. When the plate is picked up by the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras, the car used in the crime will be linked to you as the owner. You could find the police on your doorstep if your plate has been put on a car that has been used for criminal purposes. This could be anything from filling up with petrol and driving off without paying, speeding, or something far more serious. Your plates could link you to a hit and run incident or a major robbery.

With this in mind you should always report stolen number plates as soon as you’re aware that it has happened. The police can then be on the look out for your stolen plates on another vehicle, and you won’t be accused of a crime you haven’t committed!

So is there anything you can do to prevent your plates from being stolen in the first place? Well yes there is. You can use anti-tamper screws. These special screws can be used to fit a plate in the normal manner, but the screws only work one way, they cannot easily be unscrewed to remove the plate. The police in some regions give these screws away for free, so it’s worth asking at your local police station if they run this scheme. Otherwise you can buy them pretty cheaply. There are also special number plates you can buy that shatter when they are removed. You’ll still be left without your plate of course, but at least it will be unusable to anyone else and so won’t be used in a crime.

Photo credit: West Midlands Police / / CC BY-SA