In the battle for car security, Theft Resistant Number Plates are one of the most recent breakthroughs. They were introduced in a bid to fight car cloning (see our article on 'Car Cloning: Are You At Risk?' for more details on this). The AA suggest that as many as 33,000 number plates were reported as stolen in 2005 alone, although the figure would undoubtedly have been higher still if all number plate thefts were reported.
What are the benefits of Theft Resistant Number Plates?
When number plates are taken from one vehicle, they are usually added to a different vehicle to give it a new identity. This allows the driver of the second vehicle to escape motoring offences such as parking tickets and speeding fines, as well as giving them the perfect cover to get away with using the vehicle for criminal activities.
Theft Resistant Number Plates prevent this from happening. They are expected to cut the number of drivers who are being penalised by motoring offences that were committed by someone else (using their vehicle's number plates). They are also expected to reduce the number of drivers who unwittingly end up buying a car with stolen number plates.
Theft Resistant Number Plates cannot be removed from a vehicle in less than three minutes, and even then, they break up into at least four separate pieces. This makes it impossible for them to be fitted to another vehicle - even if they are eventually stolen. They are made to shatter once they have been removed from the original vehicle, which means that they are as good as useless in terms of fixing to a different vehicle.
How Much Do They Cost?
Theft Resistant Number Plates are far more expensive than regular number plates. For the most part, you can expect to pay double the cost of an average number plate, and in some cases, it may set you back even more than that. You may also have to pay an extra fee for having them fitted instead of ordinary number plates. As with most things though, you get what you pay for.
Where Can I Find Theft Resistant Number Plates?
They are not widely available at the moment. Most are fitted to new cars by car dealers. If you are buying a new car, it shouldn't be much of a problem, as you can ask the dealer to fit them for you. However, you may find it difficult to find a dealer who will fit Theft Resistant Number Plates to a car that isn't brand new. Fortunately, there are companies in the UK who will do this (for example, Hill's Numberplates fit SecurePlates to older cars, and these meet the DVLA's anti-theft guidelines for number plates).
What Happens if My Number Plates are Stolen?
You should contact the police straight away, so that they can find and prosecute the offender as quickly as possible. Many people do not think to inform the police, as they don't think that it is important enough, but car 'cloning' is becoming an increasingly common crime.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated June 2013.