Drastic Increase in Number Plate Cloning

Heycar are reporting a 857% increase in cancelled Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) from April 2021 to April 2022. With car cloning on a high, more and more people are receiving fines through their door for offences they have not committed.
07/10/2022 News
Car window with penalty notice charge

Heycar also reports a 631% increase in PCNs being overturned due to cloning since the London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) was expanded in October 2021.

It is important to know that number plate cloning and number plate theft are two different offences. ‘Theft’ refers to the criminal stealing the physical number plate, whereas ‘cloning’ is where the number plate is copied and a new set of plates made up illegally, whilst the original vehicle retains the real plates. This happens when number plate manufacturers do not do the proper legal identity checks of the buyer and the vehicle.

It’s clear that more needs to be done to stop criminals getting away with these offences and causing innocent people so much upset and worry. Enforcement of the law is increasingly dependent on accurate DVLA vehicle registration marks data, so the DVLA is being encouraged to publish statistics on car cloning so that the extent of the problem can be properly understood.

You may recall a previous article on car cloning where we shared a story about Mr Jones ( not his real name) who came to us to buy a new registration mark after his car had been cloned and he was hit with a string of PCNs.

He felt that the best way he could get this to stop quickly, was to change his plates!

In his case the victim was made to feel like the perpetrator and it was up to Mr Jones to prove that he was innocent of the charges and the subject of car cloning.

Transport for London have explained that when a motorist is issued with a penalty which is in relation to vehicle cloning, they must appeal and they will be asked to provide evidence to support this appeal. Once this has been received, the penalty charge notice can be cancelled.

Only evidence which emphatically proves that the vehicle was somewhere else other than where the offence occurred (at the time), quashes the PCN .

Our advice

To help you to avoid having your number plate cloned please follow these simple steps:

  1. Always report or make an appeal if you receive a PCN from an area that your vehicle could not have been, at the time of the charge.
  2. Take photos of your car - it may show any marks, scratches or personalisations that make it more distinctive
  3. Make your car unique - why not add a sticker on the back window or number plates with a flag or emblem?
  4. Buy a personal cover plate - we sell them from as little as £152 including transfer fee, or search for your perfect private plate. These plates make vehicles look much more distinctive, which is bad for criminals as they try to avoid the extra attention so that they don’t get found out so quickly
  5. Read our previous article on car cloning for more information on how to keep safe.

We want to hear from you if you’ve been a victim of car cloning.