TIM DREW: Battling back against thefts of number plates

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READERS of Community Bulletins will know that, since they were first published, Worthing has experienced its share of vehicle number plate thefts.

The AA states this is a crime which has doubled in the last five years, with at least 40,000 thefts reported last year.

The DVLA warns that the uses to which criminals can put stolen number plates can include changing the identity of stolen cars so that they can be sold on, disguising vehicles for use in ram-raiding or making off from petrol stations without payment, and evading congestion charges and parking or speeding fines.

Any such theft should always be reported to the police immediately, so as to avoid the possibility of receiving fixed penalty notices or becoming a suspect in criminal activity.

The DVLA, number plate manufacturers and others have therefore devised a voluntary standard for theft-resistant number plates to meet.

Those that do so will resist known attack methods for at least three minutes, but will cost around twice the price of ordinary number plates.

One such number plate (Secureplate) and its manufacturer (Hills Numberplates Ltd) are both featured on the AA’s website.

Secureplate, which has been tested by Sold Secure, the premier testing and certification house for security products, is claimed to be the world’s first theft-proof numberplate. If a thief attempts to remove it, it shatters and, as a result, cannot be used on any other vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Safer West Sussex Partnership is inviting residents, businesses and partner agencies from across the county to participate in its annual survey on crime and disorder in order to establish crime reduction priorities and to identify where crime is most prevalent.

The survey link is www.surveymonkey.com/s/SWSP2014 and the closing date is Friday, April 11.

• This week’s only surgery will be hosted by PCSO Shauna Bowen (Offington) at the Findon Valley Library, in Lime Tree Avenue, Findon Valley, on Thursday, April 3, between 11.30am and 12.30pm.