Theft of registration plates - Ellesmere Port area
THIEVES ARE OPERATING IN YOUR AREA
As you will be aware if you have read this weeks ' Ellesmere Port and Neston Police News Bulletin' there have been a number of number plate thefts within the Ellesmere Port area.
Although there are no thefts specifically from the Whitby area residents are advised to stay alert and report any suspicious activity.
There are an estimated 27,000 number plates stolen every year – that’s around 70 a day.
Why are number plates stolen?
They are stolen for many reasons. The most common being that the thief is trying to cover up for another crime they have committed or are about to commit.
By attaching your number plate to their vehicle, they are able to drive around without being caught, at least for a short amount of time. This could be either to obtain fuel without paying or to commit a more serious crime.
Another reason may be due to its value. The thief can sell it on, getting the cash before an unsuspecting potential purchaser is even aware it is stolen.
What to do if your number plate is stolen
- You need to report the theft to the police and the DVLA.
Even if your number plates are not recovered, you need to log the theft officially so you will not be liable for any fines and so on that might become attached to your number plate once the thief starts to use them.
In the case of a personalised number plate theft, you can apply to keep the number whether or not you retrieve the physical plate at any point in the future. However, you must provide evidence that it was stolen, so logging it with the Police will provide you with a crime reference number that you will need to use for this purpose.
Purchase a new number plate
You must purchase a new number plate, regardless of having reported the theft as driving without one is illegal.
Protect against future theft
There are several steps you can take to try to reduce the possibility of having your number plate stolen.
- When away from home, whenever possible try to park your vehicle in safe, well-lit area or car park. Many of these areas may have CCTV coverage, with some even benefiting from being monitored.
- When at home make use of a garage or other secured space if possible. Again CCTV coverage could also been advantageous.
- You could thief-proof your plates with the use of anti-theft number plates screws. Whilst not a 100% guarantee of preventing a number plate theft they can act a deterrent. - A thief without the specific bolt needed to remove the plate is more like to move on to a different car than fiddle with the lock.
- There are also anti-theft number plates that break into pieces when the thief tries to take them off. Although these are a more expensive option and you would still need to replace them if they have been tampered with, at least a thief would not be able to make use of your number plate.