A new trend in vehicle crime has recently emerged which all motorists, especially van insurance customers who do most of their driving in busy city centres, should be aware of. Police and van insurance companies have noticed a sharp rise in the amount of number plate thefts occurring in recent months, particularly in areas where congestion charges exist.
The frequency of number plate thefts has been on the rise since the introduction of the congestion charge in 2003, with police believing the stolen plates to be used by thieves to avoid the charge. The stolen plates also enable criminals to avoid detection by number plate recognition cameras which are used to catch drivers without van insurance.
Authorities have been quick to take action in an attempt to curb the spate of thefts. Measures have been taken which include making it harder to buy plates without comprehensive documentation to prove the ownership of the vehicle in question.
Van insurance companies and other motor insurance providers have received reports of over 14,000 plates stolen from motorists. As a result companies are now offering special policies with measures including number plate screws, which damage the surface of the plate if removed, making it easier to identify a stolen plate.
It seems the crime wave is being exploited by other drivers who have been caught in the congestion charge zone without having paid, as they are falsely claiming their plates have been stolen.
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