From Mr Fixits to Mr Jailbirds: £1m masterminds of Britain's biggest stolen car cloning racket sold more than 60 vehicles in elaborate scam
By Derbyshire Police Online News
8th June 2012
Motorists are invited to improve the security of their vehicles at an event taking place in South Derbyshire later this month.
Members of the public are invited to come along between 3.00pm and 6.00pm at Mercia Marina in Willington on Monday, June 25 to see what is available to protect their means of travel and decrease their chances of becoming a victim of crime.
Officers from the local Mercia Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team will be present together with members of the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership and the CVS Safer Homes worker's will be on hand to fit free anti-theft number plate screw to vehicles free of charge.
PC Chris Fearn from the Mercia team said: “The idea of the day is to raise awareness of this kind of crime where number plates are stolen and then used in the theft of fuel. We are offering the opportunity for local people to come along to get advice and see what they can do to prevent car crime."
For further information please contact the Mercia team on: 101 or Chris Smith the Safer Communities Manager on: 01283 595924
6th June 2012
By Echo Online News
6th June 2012
By 'This is Surrey Today' Online News
THE areas where you are most likely to fall victim to number plate theft in Reigate and Banstead borough have been revealed through new figures.
Nork tops the list, with Horley and Redhill close behind, according to a list released by Surrey Police this week which details all reported number plate thefts since January 1.
Police say the problem is mounting with thieves taking number plates to use on cars for crimes such as stealing petrol.
Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Haycock told the Mirror: "We have had an increase, it is also obvious but fair to say that they are being stolen so they can be used in crime.
"Theft of petrol from petrol stations is one of those crimes but they are used for others. They are used to badge up other vehicles used by criminals to commit all sorts of offences.
"It can be really difficult to distil hard and fast figures because [number plate thefts] are classified as thefts from motor vehicles."
Recent rises in petrol prices are being blamed for the increase in number plate thefts, with drivers trying to dodge soaring costs by putting stolen number plates on their cars and driving away without paying after filling up their car at the fuel station.
But residents in affected areas admitted they were unaware of the potential danger their car could be in.
Banstead resident Rosie Thomlinson, 41, said: "I haven't heard about it. This is an affluent area so I suppose they come here for that, but I had no idea."
Speaking at a meeting of Horley Town Council on May 15, following a meeting with Surrey Police, Chairman Richard Olliver said: "Number plate theft is on the increase.
"People snap the number plate on the cars and go and get petrol and then rush off without paying for it, and the garages assume the wrong car's come.
"That's the main reason for the number plate thefts, particularly with the high price of petrol these days."
Surrey Police say there is an easy solution to the problem of number plate thefts.
The force is offering free “anti-theft” screws, which cannot be unscrewed, to deter thieves and offer residents peace of mind.
“To get [the number plate] off you would have to break it and then you’ve got a broken number plate which is no use to anybody," said Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Haycock.
The screw kits, which are funded by the local Community Safety Partnership, are available to all Reigate and Banstead residents.
29th April 2012
Matthew Smith (www.nationalnumbers.co.uk)
Over 100 number plates were stolen, with 51 separate incidents of petrol theft from Sheffield’s filling stations in just three months.
At the rate of one ‘drive-off’ every other day, petrol thefts have soared as a result of rising prices and the perception that global companies can take the hit.
DI Tate revealed that stolen number plates are often used on more than one occasion.
In addition, they are also used to ‘clone’ stolen vehicles to get them out of the country without detection.
“If someone steals number plates they have a very short period of time to utilise them,” DI Tate added.
“The theft will quickly be raised on the police national computer to identify them. The lifespan of these plates is relatively short.
“There’s one thing that would stop drive-offs, and that is making people pay before receiving their fuel.
“The technology is there but petrol stations are reluctant to do it because of the extra sales generated when customers go into a shop after filling up.”
Number plate thefts reached a total of 113 for the three month period, resulting in at least one set of number plates being taken every day from cars in the city of Sheffield.
Police are fully aware of how stolen registrations are strongly linked with covering the tracks of vehicles involved in bilking.
For the same period last year, 125 number plates were taken with 48 incidents of bilking from petrol stations.
“There has to be an element of fuel costs involved and I think it is seen among criminals as a victimless crime,” explained Detective Inspector Helen Tate from South Yorkshire Police’s crime management unit.
She added: “In times of economic struggle, when people are finding it difficult, these are the kinds of crimes that are the first to escalate.”
South Yorkshire Police are now calling on the public to assist in catching those responsible.
For a unique personalised registration that really says something about you, at a price you can afford, just call the experts at National Numbers, on 01642 363738.
This News Article illustrates the frustrations of dealing with the Police, Insurance Companies and the DVLA when your vehicle has been cloned
23rd March 2012
'This Is Cornwall' Online News
A TRURO man learnt his van was suspected of being used in a burglary in Liverpool – when the police arrived at his house.
But Bob Henderson's Peugeot Boxer had been in Cornwall the whole time.
Mr Henderson, 45, discovered he had been a victim of car cloning whereby criminals copy the identity of a vehicle already on the road, including the registration number.
A week later the same vehicle was involved in other illegal activity in Liverpool.
Mr Henderson, a Cornwall Council worker, has been left cleaning up the mess since the burglary on March 5 and is now considering whether he may have to get new registration plates.
He said: "The police turned up at my house asking to see me. When my wife asked what it was about they said there had been a burglary in Liverpool.
"I was ill last year and when the police arrived my wife thought something had happened to me."
Mr Henderson has since been endlessly dealing with police, insurance companies and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
He said: "I've been running around like a headless chicken trying to explain to everyone that it's not me.
"I've no idea why it has happened. How they got my registration I don't know and the police have no idea."
Merseyside Police confirmed Mr Henderson had been contacted as a result of a burglary at an office in Liverpool.
The police also confirmed another incident a week later involved the cloned van but said they could not give any further details.
The police spokesman said there was no further risk of Mr Henderson being contacted as a result.
Mr Henderson was considering applying to the DVLA to get new registration plates and a new logbook.
A spokesman for DVLA said: "To assist innocent victims of cloning we will pass details of the cloned vehicle, including details of the tax disc serial number, to the police.
"This will allow the police to easily distinguish between the genuine vehicle and the clone should they stop a vehicle displaying the numberplate.
"We will consider issuing a new numberplate on request if we are satisfied that there is a genuine case of vehicle cloning."
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