Car owners who have their number plates stolen should report the theft immediately to the police to reduce the risk of being charged with offences they did not commit.
Car owners who have their car number plates stolen should report the theft to the police immediately and consider re-registering their car onto a private plate. That's the advice of motoring website SimpleMotoring.co.uk, which warns that the vast majority of stolen registration plates are used by criminals to commit offences. Even reporting the theft of a set of number plates may not be enough to prevent an innocent motorist being fined and possibly even prosecuted for offences they did not commit.
"Stolen car number plates are commonly used by criminals for all sorts of offences, including speeding, parking offences, fuel theft from garages and vehicle identity cloning" says Roland Head, founder of SimpleMotoring.co.uk. "The problem is that in the UK, being the registered keeper of a number plate is all the evidence the police or other authorities need to issue you with fixed penalty notices for speeding, parking offences, non-payment of the London Congestion Charge and much more. Innocent motorists who are in fact victims of crime find themselves having to prove their innocence or pay up."
According to SimpleMotoring.co.uk, ever-rising fuel prices mean that fuel theft from garages using stolen number plates is on the increase. Criminals steal a set of registration plates, fix them onto a car, fill up with fuel and drive off without paying. The first person the police will identify when the fuel theft is reported is the owner of the registration plates. If this happens to you, the first thing you need to do is ask to see the CCTV footage from the garage. The car used by the thieves may not match your car and the camera may have caught a clear shot of the person fuelling. If this approach fails, you may need to prove that you and your car where elsewhere at the time of the crime, however unfair this seems.
If your registration plates are stolen, here are some tips from SimpleMotoring.co.uk to help you protect yourself from any offences committed by the thieves:
1. Report the theft to the police immediately and get an incident/crime number.
2. Make a note of your movements and keep any credit card receipts issued in the period between the plates being stolen and the theft being reported. You may be able to use these to prove your whereabouts although this still won't prove your car wasn't used.
3. Consider purchasing a cheap private registration number (available for under £50) and transferring your car onto it. This is the only reliable way for a car owner to avoid any liability for offences committed using their stolen number plates.
SimpleMotoring.co.uk is a motoring website aimed at helping motorists enjoy reliable, affordable and safe motoring. Its target audience is regular motorists – drivers who enjoy their cars but also care about reducing costs and improving reliability without spending a fortune on doing so.
Motor & Transport