We all know that it is illegal to drive around in the UK without a number plate, but what do you do when yours gets damaged, lost or stolen? First of all, number plate theft may be more common than you think.
People often steal them and attach them to their own vehicle in order to get away with certain crimes, e.g. not paying for petrol or dangerous driving and speeding. The blame is shifted onto the individual who was the victim of the theft instead. It is therefore important to report cases of missing or stolen number plates to the authorities.
How to report a missing number plate
The best thing to do is to contact the police and the DVLA once you know that your plate is missing. This will increase your chances of getting it returned to you, but more importantly, it should prevent you from getting fined for offences you didn’t commit as there will be an official record of the theft.
According to some sites, if you have a private registration number, you may be able to apply to keep the number regardless of whether you are able to retrieve the physical plate. You will, however, need proof that a theft has occurred which includes a police report. Make sure to keep all of the documents in a safe place for future reference.
How to replace a lost licence plate
If you’ve lost it, don’t leave it. Driving anywhere without a registration plate could end up costing you £1000. You can either order new number plates directly from the DVLA or find a better deal from a verified and reputable company.
You will be required to provide proof of identification and proof of entitlement in order to make the purchase. Some manufacturers also offer anti-theft licence plates that include screws that can’t be removed or plates that break into pieces when somebody attempts to remove them.
The replacement process is normally fairly straightforward. If you get a screw-in replacement, the main downside is that you won’t be able to use the old plate as a reference for drilling the holes in the new one. Adhesive parts are also available.
What do I do if my front number plate has fallen off?
Even if it is only the front plate that has fallen off, it is still illegal to drive and you’ll need a replacement. It still may be worth reporting to the police if you aren’t sure where you lost it or how. Before you install a new one, make sure to check the car number plate holder for damage. If it is faulty, it will also need replacing.