Rapid Rise in Registration Plate Cloning

Registration plate cloning has seen a rapid rise in recent years, with many innocent drivers being affected. If it happens to you, it can be extremely difficult to resolve as you may start receiving a host of unpaid speeding and parking tickets, as well as other fines.

Car cloning could be one of the UK’s fastest-growing crimes. Over 12,762 Ulez (Ultra Low Emission Zone – London Transport) charges were cancelled due to plate cloning in 2022, and the RAC has described plate cloning as “the enemy of the modern motorist”.

According to Paul Barker, managing editor at Carwow, the number of cloned cars on the UK’s roads is “unfortunately increasing” – “It is becoming a real worry for those caught up in it and can have severe consequences for both buyers and legitimate vehicle owners,” he told The Guardian. “For buyers, there is the risk of the financial loss and legal complications that come with inadvertently purchasing a cloned car (which may be stolen) and potentially subject to repossession.”

Many people also struggle to convince the relevant authorities that their plates have been cloned, such as Keith Williams, from Anglesey in North Wales, who had his plate cloned and received a parking ticket from London when he’d never driven the car there. He explained to The Telegraph: “I ended up having to engage a solicitor to remove the penalty charge notice as there was no way the local authority would accept what I was telling them.”

What is registration plate cloning?

Registration or number plate cloning is when criminals duplicate or steal the physical number plate from a vehicle that does not belong to them. Because the plate’s details are linked to the original vehicle, any crimes or offences committed by the vehicle using the cloned plate will be wrongly traced back to the original vehicle. This leads to innocent drivers receiving speeding and parking fines, as well as Ulez charges. According to the Guardian, in some cases this can lead to bailiffs seizing the original car.

Edmund King, president of the AA, told The Guardian that, “One solution we advocate is to have more traffic police or ‘cops in cars and on cycles’ on the streets, as often they are able to spot the ringers. Evidence from the Home Office suggests the most serious motoring offenders are much more likely to be involved in other crimes.”

What if my registration plate has been cloned?

One of the first indicators that your vehicle could have been cloned is that you may receive parking or speeding tickets that did not involve your vehicle. If this does happen you will need to

return the tickets or fines to the issuing authority, and explain that these do not relate to your vehicle. You should include any evidence you have which could prove that this is the case, such as photographs of your car.

If you are a victim of registration plate cloning, but you have purchased one of our Motor LEI / Fleet LEI policies, we can offer support under our vehicle cloning insurance section to help the nightmare go away. Please contact your local office if you would like to find to more or phone 03330 155 8779