The RAC has already revealed the fact that around twenty thousand pairs of number plates are stolen every year in England and Wales.
That’s roundabout 55 thefts a day; a huge problem. But why do they do it? Read on to know more.
Why Do They Steal Number Plates?
There are two fundamental reasons why thieves take the trouble of stealing number plates.
The first is for stealing fuel. They simply fit any old pair of plates to their car, fill up with diesel or petrol and drive off. Soon afterward, they change the plates back to the original ones leaving the petrol pump owner with no idea of the vehicle’s true identity.
The second is for more heinous purposes. In this case, the thieves would try to steal a plate and clone it on a long-term basis. This allows them to commit all sorts of vehicle-related crimes with complete immunity.
How To Protect Yourself
Evidences point to the fact that thieves prefer plates that have been stuck on simply because they are easier to remove.
So, the simplest way of thwarting their attempt can be to screw your plates with proper plate screws costing only £10 a set.
Or you may also opt for special number plates that are simply impossible to remove without damaging them.
The basic idea is to make it incredibly difficult for a thief to remove your plates. The police refer to this as “target hardening.”
Your Plates Are Stolen – What Should You Do?
If you wake up one fine day and notice your plates “stolen,” you must report the theft to the police and also to your insurance company.
The authorities would provide you with a crime number which you must retain in case the thief commits any vehicular crime, and the police come knocking on your door.
It is also advisable to retain the number for a long time. After all, there are reports of thieves hanging on to a plate for years before using them.
The police are also well-trained in dealing with crimes like cloned number plates. So there’s no need for sleepless nights provided you are quick enough to report the theft to the authorities.
It can definitely be quite upsetting to discover that the identity of your car has been cloned; aside from the inconvenience of having to prove your innocence.
It can also feel like an annoying invasion of your privacy. However, do note that it’s nothing personal and you have not been singled out. The criminals have just seen that your car shares similar traits to the ones they own and have thus, made an unfortunate note of your registration number.
For more information on theft-resistant number plates, refer to the infographic below.