Are Your Number Plates Legal?

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The purpose of this guide is to clear up any confusion surrounding the display of number plates. There are lots of number plates advertised in the Cherished Numbers section on eBay where the seller suggests a bolt cleverly placed will give the desired effect. This is generally followed by 'I have had the plates displayed like this and have never been stopped by the Police'. The reason for the plates being offered on eBay is probably because the owner is sick of being stopped by the Police.

The following information is taken from the DVLA information leaflet INF79:

Motorists who persistently mis-represent their vehicle registration numbers making their vehicle difficult to trace, risk having them withdrawn altogether.

The Police and DVLA have become very concerned at the increase in number plates which are so seriously mis-represented that the vehicle is hard to identify. Examples include the the mis-spacing and mis-representation of characters, and the use of decorative styles of character fonts.

Mis-representation of registration numbers is an offence. Those who re-offend despite warnings can expect to have their numbers withdrawn permanently and without compensation.

If your number plate complies with the law, there will be no need for action on the part of the Police and DVLA.

If you want a personalised number plate and want to stay on the correct side of the law, my advice is to buy a proper plate that doesn't need to be altered to have the desired effect. You shouldn't have to explain to people what your registration is supposed to say. The most common response is that the person can't afford to buy the genuine article. If that is the case, any money spent on a registration that has to be mis-spaced is wasted if it is withdrawn by the Police.

It is no coincidence that the reputable sellers of personalised number plates on eBay, depict their number plates exactly as they should be displayed on a vehicle. This way the buyer doesn't get tricked into handing over hard earned money for a number plate that when spaced correctly, looks nothing like the one that was advertised.

The other benefit of buying a great registration is that it could be a sound investment. Own something of value, get pleasure from seeing it every day and relax safe in the knowledge that it is steadily gaining in value.

Please don't tell me 'If you put a bolt through here, move this letter slightly to the left and look at it from the other side of the car park with one eye closed, it looks like Douglas'. If you do, don't be surprised when I tell you that I think you have wasted your money.

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