What To Do When Your Number Plates Are Stolen

Number Plates Stolen; what to do when it happens to you.

On average, there are around 25,000 number-plate thefts and stolen a year according to the AA. You may be wondering as to why people target the least expensive part of the car, however obtaining a number plate illegally is a criminal activity which many fall victim to.

These are just some of the reasons as to why people steal number plates;

Changing the ID of a car to sell it (especially stolen vehicles)

Burglary, ram-raids and armed robberies

Leaving petrol stations without paying

Avoiding traffic, red lights and speeding fines

As you can see, as petty as it might seem, number plate theft is actually very common, and can leave your name and plate in serious trouble (even when it wasn’t actually you!). When the police receive CCTV or ANPR footage of the car with your plate on, they will be knocking at your door instead of the criminals.

Number Plate Theif

What to do if your number plate has been stolen

The first step you should take when you discover that your number plates have been stolen, is to report it straight away to the authorities. This could be the DVLA or the police (preferably both). By reporting, you are alerting the police to the fact that your plates could be used in criminal activity. 

The authorities will be reassuring and helpful, and advise you of the next steps to take with the legal side of things. Reporting the theft will also help you avoid any unwanted embarrassment / questioning if your plates are involved in a crime, as well as avoiding any fines and tickets.


In the case where your personalised number plate is stolen, you should report it to the police and DVLA as well as applying to retain the number. You can do this here at the DVLA. You will need to provide evidence that it was stolen (if you have already told the police that your plates were stolen, then this counts as evidence as you will be provided with paperwork and a crime reference number). 


Can I drive my car if my number plates have been stolen?

The short answer is no. There are no circumstances in which it is legal to drive your car (on UK roads) without a number plate on the front and rear. Even when you have reported it to the police, you are still never allowed to drive without plates. It could end up with you receiving some hefty fines, up to £1,000! That doesn’t sound too appealing does it! You should ensure that after reporting it, you head over to our site to purchase some replacement plates – the last thing you’d want is to not and end up spending a lot more. 


How to replace stolen number plates

Most of the time, the authorities will be unable to help any further when it comes to replacing your plates. It is necessary – as mentioned – to have number plates on your car, regardless of if they’ve been stolen. Here at Number1Plates we can personally manufacture you a replacement set, within the UK laws and up to the current regulations and standards. With our next-day delivery, the plates will arrive at your door the very next day. Meaning you don’t have to try driving without plates. You can just attach them onto your vehicle without leaving anywhere!

In order to receive your plates, we do require to see proof of identification and entitlement of the registration. This helps us to ensure that we are not supplying illegal registrations and plates, as without this crucial step there would be room for anybody to ‘make up’ any plates! 

The easiest forms of these include a logbook (V5C) and driver’s license or passport. It’s a really simple process, and all sensitive documentation will be securely destroyed on our internal system after we have checked through. Take a look through our FAQs for more information.

Number Plate Documents

How to avoid having your number plates stolen

Realistically, there is no way to be fully safe from theft. No matter how many precautions you take, it’s inevitable if it happens. There are several steps you can take to avoid it, of which we would fully recommend trying them all!

  • Parking. Of course if possible, opt for indoor parking such as a garage or public garage. 
  • Park in busy, well-lit areas as it’s less likely for crimes to occur.
  • Use safe, well-lit public car parks where there are CCTV and other cars.
  • Try to park near building entrances – where people can see
  • Use anti-theft screw kits which will make it harder for thieves to steal. 


We would strongly advise that you take all precautions. As you never know when you could possibly be a victim of number plate theft. Purchase your plates off of DVLA registered companies – such as Number1Plates. And remember that although it might be a pain, it is necessary to show your documents when ordering number plates. Always ensure that the manufacturers ask for this – as if not, then they are most likely illegal! 

We hope that you never have your number plates stolen, however if you are in the unfortunate situation where they are, then don’t worry – we are here to help and assist in any way we can!

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