Number plate cloning leads to a rise in cancelled speeding fines

There's been a substantial rise in the number of cloned number plates on our roads this last year and it's led to hundreds of thousands of speeding fines being cancelled.
04/05/2022 Blog
Cars being cloned

You may remember we wrote at length on the problem of cloned plates but now it appears the problem has become so rife that it’s becoming difficult to assign accurate fines for driving offences.

Currently, a speeding fine can cost you £100 minimum, with 3 points added to your licence, but more and more people are getting their charges dropped, due to being mistakenly charged in the first place.

According to the RAC Foundation, out of the 2.4 million offences analysed, 17% of them were dismissed in England and Wales. Of these dismissed fines, a whopping 39% came from Greater Manchester and Warwickshire. Wiltshire, on the other hand, only had a 2% proportion. (There aren’t any fixed speed cameras in Wiltshire.)

A speed limit sign and a speed camera sign

While 3 out of 4 motoring offences involve breaking speed limits, it’s not just speeding fines that are being dismissed. Areas with Clean Air driving zones are also seeing many people fined by mistake, with number plate cloning being the most likely reason.

The director of the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, has urged the Home Office to collect data from police forces about cancelled driving offences, noting that it’s “important that the systems of detection and prosecution are robust” before pointing out that “the hundreds of thousands of cancelled offences each year, indicate they are not”.

Has your number plate been cloned?

You won’t necessarily know if it has until you receive a penalty fine for a motoring crime you did not commit, such as a speeding ticket or parking illegally.

If you do receive such a fine you should contact the police or parking authority to let them know you suspect your number plates have been cloned, gathering any evidence that may help prove you were not the one responsible. If you can prove, as many have, that your vehicle simply couldn’t have been in the location where the offence was committed at the time it was committed, then that should be enough evidence to get you off the hook. It is certainly worth reporting the matter to the police anyway, as the guilty party may continue to use your cloned plates, perhaps for even more serious criminal activities. We have had customers order personalised number plates from us to prevent further cloning offences ending up in their names and at their home addresses.

Unfortunately, while there are laws relating to the legal manufacturing of number plates - such as needing to provide identification, as well as proof of entitlement to the registration - not all suppliers are strict about checking this, and plates can often be ordered online without such legal checks. Of course, number plates can also be stolen directly from your own vehicle but this is rare in ‘general cloning’ as you will of course notice and report this to the police much more quickly. When they are stolen then this is usually to perform a serious crime soon after and so you should report this to the Police immediately.

We discussed plate theft in our Help protect your vechicle from theft article, noting how a distinctive personal plate may in fact mean your vehicle is less likely to be cloned. At we have a huge range of registrations to choose from, with all our number plates made and distributed according to the law. So why not take a look?