Archive Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Public services all in one place

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Theft resistant number plates

Number plate theft continues to be a problem and many plates are used for serious criminal activity. The theft resistant number plate is made to stop anyone taking it off your vehicle quickly and reusing it on another vehicle.

The reasons behind number plate theft

The vehicle registration mark on a number plate is the key piece of information that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) use to look up keeper details on a vehicle record. Stolen number plates are used on vehicles, by those who don't want to be found out when they commit such offences as:

  • speeding
  • illegal parking
  • not paying congestion charges
  • driving away from a petrol forecourt without paying
  • not paying for parking tickets or speeding fines
  • ‘disguising’ a stolen vehicle

Vehicles with stolen number plates have also been used in more serious crimes such as kidnapping and robbery.

The benefits of theft resistant number plates

DVLA works with number plate manufacturers and others, to develop an agreed standard for theft resistant number plates. The numerous benefits the new plates can offer include:

  • cutting the number of car owners faced with motoring related fines for something they didn’t do
  • preventing vehicle cloning (copying the identity of a similar vehicle) and reselling them to unsuspecting motorists

Contact your local car dealer or registered number plate supplier for further information including fitting and cost.

What to do if your number plates have been stolen

If your number plates are stolen, DVLA advises you to report the theft to the police. If you receive fines or correspondence after the theft, you should return them immediately to the issuing authority with an explanation and any documentary evidence.

Note: It is an offence to display the wrong vehicle registration mark on a vehicle with a maximum penalty of £1,000.

Further information

You can find out more about theft resistant number plates by downloading the leaflet.

Additional links

Simpler, Clearer, Faster

Try GOV.UK now

From 17 October, GOV.UK will be the best place to find government services and information

Access keys

If you would like to take part in our website visitor survey, please visit the site and then come back and select this link to take part in the survey.