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Stolen number plate thefts in the thousands for Merseyside

Itís been revealed that Merseyside has noted thousands of number plate thefts over the past two years, with thieves using the registrations to dodge road cameras, clone cars or even attach them to vehicles used in bank robberies. For vehicle owners, in particular people who may have paid a lot of money for private plates, itís essential to keep cars and their registrations safe.

In new reported figures, it was shown that over 2,500 number plates were stolen in the Merseyside region alone over the past two years. The majority of thefts are so that criminals can attach them to other vehicles and avoid future crimes. These crimes include parking in bus lanes, avoiding speeding tickets and stealing fuel at petrol stations. In some cases, plates are even stolen to add to registration collections.

Obtained via a Freedom of Information request, the latest report said 2,611 thefts were noted. Between April 2012 and March 2013, 1,269 plates were taken, whilst the other 1,342 were taken in the subsequent year. The rise from 2013 to 2014 equates to around a 5 per cent increase. Certain areas seemed to be at particular risk, with Knotty Ash, Old Swan, West Derby and Stoneycroft noted 240 thefts across the two years.

Talking of the worrying trend, a spokesperson from the Merseyside Police, said, ďIn the last 12 months there has been a slight increase of 5% in thefts of number plate thefts from vehicles of all makes, models and ages across Merseyside. Stolen number plates are allowing people to get away with driving offences including driving away from petrol stations without paying and evading speed camera fines. Fines are often sent to the innocent owner of a vehicle which had its number plates stolen, and such cars are often used as getaway vehicles in more serious crimes.Ē

Meanwhile, Luke Bosdet from the AA, said that there could be five cars driving around with the same number plate because people donít realise their registration has been cloned. He explained that many cloned cars are sent abroad to places such as Nigeria. Meanwhile, the only way to tell if a carís cloned is by matching the vehicle registration number (VIN) on the carís body shell, with the registration. However, many thieves get around this by grinding off the VIN.

For those worried about registration theft, there are several measures to take, including having theft-proof screws fitted or a special plate designed to break apart if itís forcibly removed.

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