Getting a speeding ticket can be an annoying experience, but what if you receive one for a vehicle you’ve never driven or even seen before? This scenario can be confusing and may indicate a license plate cloning case.
Car cloning, a crime, occurs when someone copies the identity of your car and applies it to a similar car for criminal purposes. In special cases, the police may visit you before you learn your car has been cloned. This may be the situation if a cloned car was used in a severe organized crime incident, like a ram raid or burglary.
License plate cloning, or car cloning, is a fraudulent act where someone replicates a genuine vehicle’s license plate to avoid fines, penalties, or even criminal charges associated with their vehicle. Criminals use license plate cloning to evade detection, often using the cloned plates on vehicles similar to the original to avoid suspicion.
Table of contents
- 1 How do police know if plates are cloned?
- 2 Why do criminals clone registration plates?
- 3 How common is number plate cloning in the UK?
- 4 To whom should I report a cloned license plate?
- 5 How do you prevent your plates from getting cloned?
- 6 What is the procedure for obtaining a new vehicle license plate?
How do police know if plates are cloned?
Law enforcement agencies use a variety of techniques and instruments to identify cloned license plates and other irregularities in vehicle identification.
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems:
- Cameras that can collect and read license plates are included with ANPR systems.
- Databases that include details about registered vehicles, such as their make, model, and registered owner, are connected to these systems.
- If the database detects discrepancies with the vehicle’s information, such as inconsistent vehicle descriptions or several occurrences of the same plate, when a car with a cloned plate passes an ANPR camera, it may raise an alarm.
- Law enforcement maintains records of license plates that have been reported as stolen, cloned, or suspicious.
- Officers can check the license plate against these databases when they stop a car or look into suspected conduct.
- If the license plate belongs to a stolen or copied car, suspicion will be aroused, leading to more research.
Why do criminals clone registration plates?
A license plate is frequently copied so that thieves can operate a vehicle in violation of the law. This may involve entering the UK without paying the congestion zone toll or Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) toll, as well as speeding, running red lights, and illegal parking.
It denotes that the police, who suspect the registered owner of the car whose license plate was copied, will get in touch with them. The owner won’t typically become aware of the situation at this point until they start receiving fines and penalty notices.
The entire procedure makes it far more difficult for the authorities to identify the true perpetrators.
To avoid problems like these, get a reg check.
How common is number plate cloning in the UK?
Up to 20% of the vehicles on UK roads may be driven with cloned license plates, according to police estimates, which is a worrying statistic.
Unfortunately, there are an estimated 13,000 registration plate duplication incidents recorded each year as number plate cloning becomes more prevalent.
- Because more Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed nationwide to read vehicle license plates digitally
- Due to the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in numerous towns and cities, which penalize older vehicles for operating in these regions
- The ULEZ zone in London is being expanded to include the entire city because number plates can be purchased online without a supplier checking a vehicle’s original paperwork.
- Because of the desire of criminals to make older vehicles seem fresher, in order to evade the escalating emission-based penalties.
To whom should I report a cloned license plate?
If you think that your vehicle’s license plate has been tampered with, the first step is to return the tickets and fines to the body that issued them. You must explain in writing that the fines have nothing to do with you or your vehicle. Prepare to offer documentation to substantiate your whereabouts – dash cams can come in handy here!
Second, notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that you suspect your vehicle’s license plate has been cloned. They will then make a note of it on your vehicle’s record.
Finally, notify the police of your concerns.
If you suspect your vehicle’s registration plate has been tampered with, follow these three steps:
- Returning tickets and contesting fines.
- Contact the DVLA.
- File a police report.
How do you prevent your plates from getting cloned?
Tamper-Resistant License Plates:
- Tamper-proof license plates are available in some areas to stop thieves from attempting to remove or clone them.
- These plates are usually composed of unique materials or contain qualities that make them difficult to change or copy.
- Security screws are specialty screws meant to resist license plate theft and tampering.
- They require a special tool or driver to install or remove, making it more difficult for thieves to steal your license plates.
- Torx, pin-in-Torx, and hex socket screws are among the different types of security screws available.
What is the procedure for obtaining a new vehicle license plate?
A registered number plate supplier is the only place to purchase a new registration plate. The vendor will demand to see original documents proving your identity and residence, as well as the required vehicle documentation demonstrating your authority to use the car’s registration number. You must present documentation, such as a driving license or national identity card if you were not born in the UK, to verify your name and residence. You will need a passport (which need not be issued in the UK), a bank statement, or a credit card to establish your identity. A V5C or V5CNI will be required to show that you can utilize the registration number, which is another requirement of vehicle history.
Dealing with a speeding ticket linked to a cloned license plate can be a bewildering and frustrating experience, but it’s a situation that requires careful navigation. Remember, justice prevails when you act swiftly and decisively.