A recent report from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has revealed that more than 12,000 British motorists received fines, penalties, and letters between January 2021 and September 2022 due to vehicles displaying their registration plates, which they did not recognise. This data, obtained by Platehunter.com through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that incidents of cloned number plates have been increasing in recent years. In 2018, there were 4,021 complaints, which increased to 9,384 in 2019, and then 7,400 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
According to Jon Kirkbright, sales director for Platehunter.com, many innocent motorists have faced major issues because of vehicle cloning. He explained, “People come to us because they’ve had the police on their doorstep asking why they made off from a garage without paying. Others have had speeding fines in London when they’ve never been there – all because someone has cloned their plate and used it to commit crimes.”
The rise in cloned number plates coincides with an increase in the number of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. Criminals can select a vehicle that has no previous speeding tickets or fines and replicate its registration number onto their own car. To avoid detection, they may copy the number plate of a similar make, model, and colour.
Kirkbright advises that anyone who suspects their registration plate has been cloned should inform the DVLA immediately and change the registration plate. Platehunter.com offers a service that allows motorists to obtain a replacement registration plate, and the company has seen a 300% increase in the purchase of replacement plates in the last 12 months.
The DVLA recommends that anyone who believes their vehicle has been cloned should contact the police and the issuing authority of any fines or penalties they receive. They should also provide evidence to show that their vehicle was not in the area at the time of the incident. Further information on what to do if your vehicle has been cloned can be found on the government website.