Had your number plates stolen? Take our test to see how likely you are to avoid a £1,000 fine and the blame for offences you didn’t commit

Leaving the house, you’re just about to jump in your car and enter the rush-hour fray – when you realise your number plates are missing. What do you do next?

  1. Blame bored local youths and scribble a homemade plate on a piece of cardboard and place it on your rear parcel shelf?
  2. Swear a bit and reluctantly plan to swap your lunchtime pizza for a drive to Halfords to get new plates made up.
  3. Immediately call the police, report the missing plates, grab your car’s registration document and a utility bill before getting a lift to Halfords (other providers available) to get replacements.

Scroll down to find out if you could be getting a visit from this chap…

Having your number plates could land you in big trouble - find out why here

Having your number plates could land you in big trouble – find out why here: Image credit RTimages/Thinkstock

Answer 1 or 2 and you could be looking at a £1,000 fine and the possibility of lengthy legal battles defending motoring offences you didn’t commit.

Alternatively, choosing 3 will help protect you from fines and being wrongly accused of offences you know nothing about. Here’s why this is the case…

Why should I report ‘missing’ number plates to the cops?

True, your call is unlikely to prompt a rapid response from the local SWAT squad, but it will result in a crime number and proof that you’ve had your plates potentially stolen.

Why is it so important to report the ‘plate-gate’ incident?

Crooks steal number plates to put on the likes of stolen cars that match your vehicle’s make, model and colour. This means the ‘hot’ motor can be driven on the road without raising suspicion – unless the plate theft is reported. If not, all offences committed by the cloned motor will end up on your doormat.

Surely crooks would just get number plates made up?

Many still do, but tough regulations to combat this sort of crime have made it difficult to get  new plates made up. Low-level criminals, without a sophisticated network, may just steal plates to order rather than take the more difficult route of obtaining copies.

Okay – after I report it to the cops I’ll drive to the local garage and get some replacements, right?

Not a great idea. Driving while not displaying the correct style of number plate could land you a £1,000 fine. You should not drive until you’ve got new plates fitted.

I’ll give my mate a ring at the local garage then?

Nope! Only registered operators can create new registration plates. Luckily, you can find one of these registered suppliers by entering your postcode on the Gov.UK website.

Find a registered number plate supplier here.

Will I need to go in person?

Yes. To make the replacement plates, the supplier will need to see original documents that:

  • prove your name and address
  • show you’re allowed to use the registration number

You can use the following to confirm your name and address

  • driving licence
  • utility, Council Tax or rates bill from the last 6 months
  • bank or building society statement from the last 6 months
  • national identity card

Proving you can use the registration number

You must bring one of the following to show you’re allowed to display the registration number:

  • vehicle registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI)
  • new keeper supplement (V5C/2 or V5C/2NI)
  • certificate of entitlement (V750 or V750NI) to the number
  • retention document (V778) – not applicable in Northern Ireland
  • a renewal reminder for vehicle tax or SORN (V11 or V11NI)
  • temporary registration certificate (V379 or V379NI)
  • a number plate authorisation certificate (V948) with an official stamp from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
  • an electronic number plate authorisation certificate (eV948)
  • a letter of authorisation from a fleet operator (including lease or hire company) quoting the document reference number from the registration certificate if your fleet is in the new V5C on demand scheme (also called ‘V5C suppression’), a PDF of the vehicle’s details from the view vehicle record service

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