Drivers with illegal number plates face fines of up to £1,000

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POLICE forces across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk have joined forces once again to re-visit an operation aimed at tackling vehicles with misrepresented number plates.

Operation Dragon, which will be running between July 16th and August 5th, sees the six forces working together to clamp down on the use of misrepresented number plates - which are illegal. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Intercept Teams, road patrol units, and other specialist units will be looking out for number plates that are not displayed in the correct format, which can be hard to read and make it difficult for police to identify vehicles involved in criminal activity.

Anyone caught displaying a number plate that does not meet the DVLA’s criteria will be stopped by police and could face a fine of up to £1,000. In a similar operation earlier this year, nearly 300 drivers were stopped and given formal penalties for using misrepresented number plates on their vehicles.

As part of Operation Dragon, ANPR officers will be looking out for and stopping vehicles with number plates that:

* Display adjusted fixings or bolts which alter spaces or obscure characters to appear as something else.

* Use any font that is not the standard DVLA approved ‘Charles Wright’ font.

* Use offensive wording.

* Are not easily readable or recognised by the naked eye.

Number plates should also be made from a reflective material. Front number plates must display black characters on a white background and rear number plates must display black characters on a yellow background.

Further information on how a number plate should be correctly displayed can be found on the DVLA website: www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/PersonalisedRegAndNumberPlates

How does ANPR work?

The devices are used by police around the UK to detect and remove serious criminals including burglars, robbers, drug dealers and fraudsters - and unsafe vehicles and unsafe drivers from the roads.

ANPR instantly highlights suspicious vehicles to officers so the vehicles can be stopped and the ‘flagged’ issues investigated. The camera can read a number plate every second, and compares it against a variety of local and national databases. It offers a more targeted approach than traditional methods, meaning fewer law-abiding motorists have their journeys interrupted and more criminals and unsafe vehicles are taken off the road.