Essex: Illegal number plates come into focus

DRIVERS could soon be told ‘your number is up’, as Essex Police launch a crackdown on illegal number plates across the area.

Road officers will be coming down hard on users and makers of misrepresented plates as part of a national campaign instigated by the DVLA.

There has been growing concern about the increasing rate of people tampering with official registrations to create names, words or short phrases.

Police say it is an offence to use fixing bolts to create a letter, use incorrectly sized characters, or use illegal spacing, fonts and graphics.

Creating foreign-style number plates, using patterned or textured backgrounds or offensive words is also against the law.

Offenders could face an instant �60 fixed penalty notice and anyone using false plates could be fined up to �1000.

Casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe said: “The main problem with misrepresented number plates is that we cannot quickly identify a car or its owner if it is stolen or used in crime.

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“We use automatic number plate technology extensively to keeps the roads safe and trace poorly-maintained vehicles, dangerous drivers or track the movements of vehicles which are stolen or are being used by criminals.

“There can be a delay while ANPR works out the correct identity of an altered number plate and that delay could lead to offenders getting away or stolen cars not being traced.

“Officers will be paying close attention to altered plates and if you have one it’s only a matter of time before we will be having words with you.”

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