Police official warns unsuspecting motorists face being charged with offences they didn’t commit as a result of car-cloning criminals.
Criminal gangs are cloning thousands of number plates and subsequently racking up all manner of fines and charges whilst using the cloned plates. Cases range from filling cars with fuel and driving off without paying, or speeding fines or congestion charges, to more serious offences such as ram raids.
West Midlands Police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson, described the number pate cloning as a “very considerable problem”.
“We're seeing thousands of plates being stolen just in the West Midlands – Merseyside, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire are seeing huge rises as well.”
Jamieson called for car manufacturers to play a part in helping to protect innocent motorists by making it harder for criminals to clone number plates. He said it was “ludicrous” number plates are still so easily removed. He also acknowledged that government cuts played a part in the rise of cases, as this has resulted in fewer police officers, especially on car patrol.
If you are accused of offences you haven’t committed and are concerned that your number plate might have been cloned, you should take the following actions:
Contact the organisation issuing the fines or penalty points and explain your situation.
Contact both the police and the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and inform them you think your number plate has been cloned, providing all information you can.
If you’re buying a used car and want to check the number plate on the vehicle is legitimate, you should:
Look out for any signs that the car’s paperwork has missing information or has been tampered with, such as missing pages and altered details.
Check the serial number and DVLA watermark on the vehicle’s V5 logbook, and check the numbers in the logbook correspond to those etched onto the vehicle itself.
Take advantage of vehicle history check services such as Experian AutoCheck (DIA members receive 50% off this service for themselves and their pupils) or the RAC’s Car Check.