Car insurance: 'Anti-theft' licence plates unveiled

Thursday, 01 June 2006

The national concern over ID theft has extended in no small way to car licence plates, with the government announcing a new "theft proof" plate for vehicles.

Aimed at reducing the number of plates that are stolen and used in car insurance fraud, congestion charge fraud, parking fraud and many other areas, the new plates have a "three minute attack resistance" from thieves.

They are fixed to the car so tightly that they will not yield to "hand tools, modified tools, battery operated drills, screw removal tools, or any combination of the above", claims transport minister Stephen Ladyman.

Many drivers find they number plates have been stolen as thieves use them on stolen vehicles to avoid paying car insurance premiums or any kind of charge, with fines going to the registered owner of the first car.

When looking for a quick car insurance quote online, motorists often key in their licence plate numbers so they car insurance firm can register their car – but if these plates are stolen, criminals can run up huge bills using a different vehicle identity.

Experts claim around 33,000 plates are stolen each year in the UK, with 6,000 in London alone.

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