Recently bought a new set of vehicle number plates?

According to an investigation carried out by the BBC, DVLA registered companies are selling car number plates without carrying out the necessary checks.

As a result, there have been cases whereby registered owners have faced fines or arrest when their cloned plates have been involved in a crime.

To make sure you’re on the right side of the law, we’ve put together a handy guide on number plates.

Illegal number plates explained

Number plate suppliers that do not complete the necessary checks are potentially making cloned number plates, which could result in fines or arrest for the registered keeper if the car was involved in a crime.

So for example, if this illegal driver speeds, picks up a parking ticket the registered (and rightful) driver of the licensed number plate will receive a nasty surprise in the post.

According to the BBC, one driver from Surrey, Adam Shirley, has received 18 letters demanding a total of £1,000 in parking ticket fines after another driver with the same vehicle number plate had committed the crime.

He said: “I’m kind of scared that someone will commit a bigger crime by using a car with my license plate on it”.

So what’s the solution?

Ways to make sure your number plate is legal

Our number plate expert here at Halfords, Katie Sexton, says: “The only safe and legal way to purchase your number plates is to make sure you’re asked to show your documents at the point of purchase. You should be asked to provide original documents that prove your name and address, and show that you’re allowed to use the registration number.”

She added: “Cloned number plates are being increasingly used by rogue drivers and criminals. To avoid becoming a victim, we recommend that you don’t ever upload photos of your car to any website or social media platforms with the plates showing.”

When you’re getting number plates made up, you should provide original documents that:

  • Prove your name and address like a driving license, utility bill, bank statement or national identity card.
  • Show that you’re allowed to use the registration number like a vehicle registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI), new keeper supplement (V5C/2 or V5C/2NI), certificate of entitlement or retention document (V778).

For a more detailed list of acceptable documents, take a look at

Other things to consider about number plates

A legally registered number plate must always include the British Standard on the bottom right-hand corner of your number plate (BSAU145d).

If you think that your car number plate has been cloned, you should contact the police and the DVLA at once.

Here at Halfords, when you buy number plates from us, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that the appropriate checks have taken place and that we’ve followed the approved and legal process.

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