The number of complaints continue to increase in relation to cloned vehicle registration plates. It has recently been reported that over 1,100 motorists contacted the DVLA in just a single month during 2020 to report that their vehicle had been linked to an offence they did not commit.
Vehicle registration plates, otherwise known as number plates, are legal identity documents regulated by the government.
According to the motor trades ‘British Number Plate Manufacturers Association’ (BNMA), suppliers of number plates must see the original vehicle documents before producing any new plates, all suppliers must also be registered with the DVLA.
Criminals are attaching ‘fake’ duplicate number plates to a similar vehicle make, model, and colour, so that traffic offences caught by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are linked back to the legally registered vehicle, which means police officers and local authorities end up pursuing the wrong suspect.
Unfortunately, at present, there is no way anyone can prevent their vehicle from being cloned by criminals, and in most cases, the real owner of the registered vehicle only finds out about the problem when receiving notice of a traffic offence or crime they haven’t committed!
Consequences of vehicle cloning can range from a single parking ticket landing on your doorstep, to far more extreme cases related to organised crime.
Only if there is evidence provided of a cloned car being driven somewhere else at the same time; will the DVLA provide a new vehicle registration to a victim.
A DVLA spokesperson said: “Any motorist who believes their vehicle has been cloned should contact the police.”
“They should also contact the issuing authority of any fines or penalties they receive to alert them to the circumstances.”
“They should also write to DVLA giving as much information as they can for us to investigate.”
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“If there is evidence that two vehicles are showing the same registration number, we can, where appropriate, provide an alternative age related registration number.”
Before buying a vehicle from any seller it is recommended carrying out checks to find out whether a vehicle has been scrapped or stolen. Ensure you obtain the full vehicle history and ‘Vehicle Identification Number’ (VIN) to check against all records available.
A spokesperson from the motor trade insurance industry commented: “In January the creation of a new task force was announced by the policing minister, in response to rising levels of vehicle crime. We hope the group will swiftly agree a concrete plan for tackling the very serious problem of car cloning.”
If you believe you have fallen victim of vehicle cloning and face prosecution for a motoring offence you’re contesting, check with your motor insurance policy provider to see if you are covered for any legal expenses.