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Rising Menace: Vehicle Cloning Emerges as a Significant Challenge for UK Drivers and Authorities

Over 12,000 British drivers have faced fines or penalties for offenses related to vehicle registration plates they did not recognize, according to recent data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This information, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by, highlights the increasing prevalence of vehicle cloning in the UK. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, reports of this crime have been on the rise, with 4,021 complaints in 2018, 9,384 in 2019, and 7,400 in 2020.

Vehicle cloning occurs when criminals replicate the registration of another vehicle onto their own, often targeting cars with no previous history of speeding tickets or fines. This allows them to commit crimes while avoiding detection, as any subsequent penalties or legal issues would be linked to the innocent owner of the cloned plate.

The consequences for victims of vehicle cloning can be severe. Innocent motorists may find themselves facing accusations of crimes they did not commit, such as making off from a garage without paying or receiving speeding fines in locations they have never visited. Discovering that their number plate has been cloned can take months, during which time the victim may accumulate multiple penalties in different authorities.

The proliferation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras has contributed to the rise in vehicle cloning cases. Criminals exploit the technology by selecting a vehicle similar to their own and copying its registration details onto their car. This tactic makes it harder for the police to apprehend them.

To address a cloned plate issue, the police advise victims to contact the DVLA and change their registration plate immediately. offers a convenient service for obtaining replacement registration private number plates, with a reported 300% increase in the purchase of such plates in the last year. By promptly replacing the cloned plate, motorists can alleviate the problems associated with this crime and prevent further complications.

The DVLA recommends that any motorist who suspects their vehicle has been cloned should report the incident to the police and inform the relevant authorities about any fines or penalties received. Providing appropriate evidence that demonstrates their vehicle’s absence from the area at the time of the offenses is crucial. Further guidance on handling vehicle cloning incidents can be found on the government’s website at

In conclusion, vehicle cloning poses a significant problem for UK drivers and authorities. The increasing number of reported cases underscores the need for vigilance and prompt action when faced with a cloned plate. By working together with law enforcement agencies and taking advantage of services offered by authorized providers, motorists can mitigate the inconvenience and frustration caused by this form of crime.

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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