THURROCK drivers with illegal registration plates could soon be told ‘Your number’s up’.
Road policing officers will be cracking down on users and makers of misrepresented plates as part of a nationwide campaign called for by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Police and the DVLA are concerned at a growing trend to tamper with official numbers to create names, words or short phrases.
But it is an offence to use fixing bolts to create a letter, use incorrectly sized characters or spacing or illegal font or graphics.
Creating foreign-style number plates, using patterned or textured backgrounds or offensive words is also against the law.
Offenders could face an instant £60 fixed penalty notice (FPN) and anyone using false plates could be fined up to £1,000.
Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager for Essex Police said: “The main problem with misrepresented number plates is that we cannot quickly identify a car or its owner if it is stolen or used in crime.
“We use automatic number plate technology (ANPR) extensively to keeps the roads safe and trace poorly-maintained vehicles, dangerous drivers or track the movements of vehicles which are stolen or are being used by criminals.
“There can be a delay while ANPR works out the correct identity of an altered number plate and that delay could lead to offenders getting away or stolen cars not being traced.
“Officers will be paying close attention to altered plates and if you have one it’s only a matter of time before we will be having words with you.”