This week (w/c 18th January 2021), LSS have been informed of an incident at a property in Totteridge. The incident involved the theft of a victim’s number plates from their vehicle whilst parked outside their home during the hours of 4pm and 5pm.
On the face of it, number plate theft may seem like a fairly petty crime resulting in the inconvenience of having to replace the plates. The true motive and consequence of such a crime however is significantly more serious. Criminals use stolen plates to mask another vehicle’s registration, allowing them to carry out a number of illegal activities without being correctly identified. The most common of these crimes is fuel theft, which is estimated to cost fuel stations across the country over £2m every year. The thieves attach the stolen plates to their own vehicle, drive into a fuel station, fill up the tank and then drive away without paying. The plates can then be easily removed, or swapped, shortly after to avoid being caught. Meanwhile, number plate recognition at the fuel station can go on to incriminate the victim if they have failed to report it.
Every year, thieves are stealing in excess of 40,000 number plates across the UK.
Aside from fuel theft, criminals are using stolen number plates to help them avoid congestion charge and toll road fees, commit speeding offenses and carry out burglaries without fear of being identified.
What can I do to prevent this happening to me?
- There are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of falling victim to number plate theft;
- Check how securely your plates are attached to your vehicle. There are special kits available which can be used to fix your plates to your vehicle which do not use a standard cross or phillips head screw driver. These kits also include anti-tempering caps which can make the fixing screws more difficult to access. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily prevent the eventual removal of the plates, anything that could delay a thief will act as an early deterrent. These kits are low cost and are readily available online – click here for anti-theft number plate bolt kits.
- Try to follow standard anti-vehicle theft practices which includes parking your vehicle in well lit areas outside of your own property. If possible try to park vehicles in view of CCTV systems.
- Install motion sensor lighting on your driveway or outside your property, again to deter criminals and potentially alert you of unexpected movement.
- If you are a LSS client, contact your LSS patrol team or call 07718 373 322 if you see any suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood or on your property.
- If you are not an LSS client, sign up to LSS Residential Security Patrols or our brand new, state-of-the-art sensor and monitoring system, ProResponse+.
What should I do if my number plates are stolen?
- REPORT IT TO THE POLICE, IMMEDIATELY. If your number plates have been stolen, contact the authorities as soon as possible by calling 101 (or 999 if the crime is still in progress). By doing so, you can ensure that you are not incriminated for any criminal activity carried out using your number plates. This may also help police catch and prosecute the suspects sooner.