Have the number plates been stolen from your car?
It doesn't matter that they're not personalised number plates. The number plates themselves are of no real value to you or me - whether they're personalised, or just standard number plates. BBC Ulster Radio DJ Stephen Nolan was stunned when he was a victim last week.
Why would someone steal your number plates?
So if the number plates are of no value, why would someone want to steal them? It's quite simple. Since the DVLA introduced new rules that require you to prove you are entitled to a registration number, it's become more difficult to have number plates made up fraudulently. So it's easier to steal them.
The stolen number plates are then attached to another vehicle (probably the same model & colour as the original vehicle). And used for petrol drive-offs, or to avoid fines from speeding cameras and illegal parking. They're also used to hide the fact that a car is stolen, or simply to avoid congestion charges. It's known as car cloning.
An 86 year old lady from County Durham was the victim of car number plate cloning. The lady received fines for illegal parking and use of bus lanes... accompanied by letters from various council authorities. The result was unnecessary stress, though fortunately this is now resolved.
What to do if your number plate are stolen
If your number plates are stolen, the first thing you need to do is tell the police. It may not seem worth reporting, but it helps should your number plates be used fraudulently.
You will, of course, need to have another set of number plates made up. You will need proof of your identity, as well as your log book to prove you are entitled to the registration number. So take these along with you.
Theft resistent number plates are available - they break when the thief is attempting to remove them.