Cloned Number Plates: How to Report Them

Cloned Number Plates: How to Report Them

Has your number plate been cloned, and you are unsure of what to do? Or are you just interested in how to report such cases for future reference? Either way, we are here to help. In this blog, we provide a step-by-step guide on different ways to report and prevent a cloned number plate incident. This ensures you are well-prepared in case you find yourself in this situation. 

There are thousands of cloned plate cases each year. Therefore, it’s important for you to understand the reporting process so you can take action. 

How to Check If a Number Plate Has Been Cloned

Checking if a number plate has been cloned involves being observant and paying attention to details. A situation like this might happen to the personal car you are using, or you might buy a second-hand car which already has a cloned registration number attached to it. 

How do I know if my personal car registration number has been cloned?  

Usually, it’s difficult to understand immediately if your number plate has been cloned. However, the first sign that this might’ve happened, is if you start receiving fines you are not responsible for through the post. Most of the time, this would be a Notice of Intended Prosecutions (NIP) for speeding, careless driving or failing to stop after an accident. Although, any type of fine can be a strong sign that your car number plate has been cloned. 

Once you receive the fine, you should always check the time and location of the offence from the letter. If it doesn’t match the region where you live or places you have recently visited, then you must report it immediately. 

A more serious case is if you are being pulled over by the police for more severe offences you didn’t commit. This might include evading the police, robbery, burglary, or transporting illegal goods. In such instances, you should cooperate with the police and give them any information they require. 

How do I check if the car I am buying has cloned registration plates?

In case you are buying a second hand car and are unsure if the number plates are cloned, there are various ways you can determine this:

  • Check that the number plate and model of the vehicle match with the ones from the registration documents.

  • Ensure that the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on your vehicle matches the information from your registration documents.

  • Ask and check the MOT number if the car is older than three years.

  • Request the vehicle’s maintenance records and contact the garage to verify the information.

  • Make sure you know the market value of the car. If the car is way too cheap, this could be a warning sign.

  • Always check the V5C logbook and make sure the original details match and are correct.

  •  Inspect the number and look for irregularities, strange font style and colour or abnormal flexibility.

What Do I Do If My Number Plate Has Been Cloned?

Having your car number plate cloned can be a very stressful situation, especially if you 

are accused of a serious offence. So here are the steps you need to take in case you suspect that your number plate has been cloned:

1. Contact and report the incident to the police

It’s important to contact the police immediately and explain that you are not the person responsible for the offence. This way, they are aware of the situation and can help you if other incidents related to your vehicle number happen. The police will also open a file case and try to catch and prosecute the person reliable to prevent future cases.

2. Return any letters or fines to the issuer 

The next step is to return any fines or letters you receive on your name to the issuing authority, explaining the circumstances and providing relevant evidence that could support you.

3. Contact the DVLA 

You should then contact and inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about the suspected cloning. They can provide guidance or any additional help you might need.

4. Collect as much evidence as you can to demonstrate your innocence 

Lastly, it’s crucial for you to gather as much evidence as you can. This can include receipts from the period the offence was committed, CCTV footage from home or work, GPS data or anything else that could prove your innocence.

How to Report Cloned Number Plates to the Police

You can contact the police online, call the non-emergency line on 101 or go to your local police station. Follow the next steps:

1. Provide as many details as possible about your car and registration number plate.

2. Clearly explain the situation and that you suspect your car registration number to have been cloned.

3. If required, file a formal police report detailing the incident.

4. Provide any supporting documents or evidence that would support your claim.

5. Make sure you fully cooperate with the police any additional information they require so they can appropriate actions.

5. Keep a record of the crime reference number. 

How to Report Cloned Number Plates to the DVLA

After reporting to the police, you should reach out to DVLA by calling them or contacting them online through their website. Here are some of the steps you could follow:

1. Clearly outline the situation, including the number plate you suspect it’s cloned and any other relevant details.

2. Give them the crime reference number if you have one

3. If necessary, provide any supporting documents or letters

4. Follow any specific procedures they might have for this type of incidents

How to Prevent Your Number Plate from Being Cloned

Preventing your number plate from being cloned involves implementing a series of measures. This includes:

1. Use anti-theft screws. You can install anti-theft screws to secure your number plate, making it more difficult for thieves to remove or replace them.

2. Park in well-lit areas. Choose well-lit and monitored parking spaces when possible like garages, private driveway or places with CCTV. This will reduce the risk of criminals attempting to clone your number plate.

3. Invest in tamper-proof plates. Opt for tamper-proof number plates with security features like holograms and watermarks.

4. Don’t post pictures of it online. Avoid posting pictures of your number plate online. This includes social media or any websites.

5. Check your number plate regularly. Do regular inspections of your plate to check for any signs of tampering or alteration. This could include scratches, missing pieces, or any other strange damages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Cloned Number Plates?

Cloned number plates are fake plates created to copy the details of legitimate vehicles. Criminals do this to avoid law enforcement for committing offences such as speeding, robbery, illegal goods transportation, fraud, running red lights or illegal parking. This is because cloning plates makes it difficult for authorities to trace the true identity of the vehicle involved in the crimes.

How Common Are Cloned Number Plates?

Cloned number plates are very common in the UK, and the number of cases where cloned plates are involved has been increasing. Some of the factors that influenced the increase include the installation of more ANPR cameras, the expansion of London’s ULEZ area, and now more cities are introducing CRZ (Clean Air Zones).

How Do the Police Detect Cloned Plates?

There are various methods the police can use to detect cloned plates, such as:

  • Database checks. Police routinely check licence plate numbers against databases to verify vehicles' registration details. 

  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Systems. The police can use ANPS systems to compare the data from pictures with the one from their databases.

  • Patrol and traffic stops. Law enforcement officers conduct routine patrols and traffic stops, during which they visually inspect licence plates.

  • Public Reports. Members of the public who observe suspicious activities or believe they have detected cloned plates can report their concerns to the police.

Can ANPR Detect Cloned Plates?

Yes, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems can play a crucial role in detecting cloned plates. It involves the use of cameras to capture images of vehicle licence plates. The captured data is processed and compared against databases about plate numbers. The systems can also generate real-time alerts for law enforcement in case the information from the picture doesn’t match the expected details of the vehicle.

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