What to Do if Your Number Plate is Lost or Stolen? NSW Laws

Sahar Adatia.

 

In Manchester in the United Kingdom, strange things are happening to parked cars on the roads.

Specifically, fake number plates are being randomly put on vehicles, replacing their real ones.

The news comes after a woman from the town of Hale, Charlotte Grundy, realised her licence plates had suddenly been changed when she returned to her car one day to collect her sunglasses.

Ms Grundy first realised something wasn’t right with her vehicle when she noticed the colour of her number plate had changed.

Moreover, the new plate had a film on it, and the registration number did not reflect hers at all.

What quickly became apparent was that it was a completely different one that had been stuck on, signalling a fake registration plate.

The woman spoke to local media outlet, the Manchester Evening News, about the matter and shared her belief about what was going on.

“Everyone is saying it was being prepped to be stolen,” Ms Grundy said, explaining that she feared someone may have been scheming to break into her flat to get the key for her car – but that they got “disturbed”.

“We just don’t know, it’s quite scary.”

She added that that the fake plate is not registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency – so it wouldn’t come up on any surveillance cameras.

Suspicious, Ms Grundy also said other crimes have recently been committed in the area recently, one of which included an armed robbery in broad daylight.

“It’s supposed to be a nice area,” she said.

Ms Grundy normally leaves her car parked on any road she can find nearby to her flat.

Nevertheless, after discovering the fake number plate on her car, she now leaves her vehicle in a neighbour’s driveway, and has since also had a tracker fitted on it.

 

Local Drivers Now Warned to Be on the Lookout as Driving with Illegal Plates Pose Penalties

As a result of Ms Grundy’s case, amongst others, drivers in the area now being warned to be on the lookout as driving with unofficial number plates can result in penalties.

Meanwhile, according to members of the Hale and Altrincham General Facebook group, it is believed the film on the fake number plates are intentionally designed to be reflective so cameras can’t pick them up.

Back in 2021, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency banned certain number plates in an attempt to deter anything offensive being legally allowed on roads in the United Kingdom.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, certain registration plates were also disallowed.

These included: CO21 ONA, CO21 VD, COV 11D, COV 111D and CO21 RNA.

Other, more obvious, banned number plates included: LE21 ZZA, MU21 DER, BA21 STD and GB21 EDL.

It is also understood that any number plates ending in ARS or DAM were also banned, while any mention of SEX, ASS or BNP are also made illegal.

Meanwhile, plates including JE55 US, 15 LAM, OS55 AMA, BL18 JOB and BU18 SHT were also prohibited.

 

Legal Requirements If your Car Number Plate is Lost or Stolen in NSW

 If your vehicle number-plate is lost, stolen or destroyed, you as the plate holder must, as soon as is practicable after discovering this:

  • Notify Transport for NSW in writing, and
  • Deliver to Transport for NSW any other number-plate with the same number unless it too is lost, stolen or destroyed.

Clause 30(1) Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017 (NSW) prescribes up to $2,200 fines if you fail to do this in those circumstances.

You may then be required to verify your claim, and be issued with a new number plate.

 

Displaying Number Plates According to NSW Laws

In NSW, as per clause 25 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017, it is a legal requirement that a vehicle must have affixed to it an official number plate issued by Transport for NSW and that they must not be obscured, defaced or otherwise illegible.

This is so police can clearly read number plates, and in cases where vehicles are involved in accidents or criminal behaviour, both police and community members can clearly see the registration number so they can report details with accuracy.

In NSW, a fine of $469 and 3 demerit points is in place for using a vehicle with obscured, defaced or illegible number-plates.

If you elect to have the matter finalised in the local court, the maximum penalty you can receive is a fine of $2,200.

It should be noted that according to clause 25, it is also a requirement that the number plate is at all times in an upright position that is substantially parallel to the vehicle’s axles, and not more than 1.3 metres above ground level.

Additionally, the numbers on the number plate must be clearly visible from any point that is up to 20 metres from the number plate, and within an arc of 45 degrees from the surface of the number plate above or to either side of the vehicle.

Finally, any cover on the number plate must be clear, clean, untinted and flat over its entire surface, and must have no reflective or other characteristics that would prevent the successful operation of a device approved for use under a law relating to the detection of traffic offences.

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