British Fake Number Plate Crisis: Drivers Buy Number Plates Online for £10 to Trick Surveillance Cameras

British Fake Number Plate Crisis: Drivers Buy Number Plates Online for £10 to Trick Surveillance Cameras

In Britain, altered number plates are being sold online to trick cameras and avoid penalties.

In Britain, people are coming up with elaborate ways to trick ULEZ cameras and avoid paying the fees associated with driving vehicles that do not meet the required emissions standards. 

These ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) charges can be quite high, especially for those with older, more polluting cars. Some drivers have begun tampering with or using counterfeit number plates to avoid being caught

Around a million "misreads" happen daily because of counterfeit number plates. Some plates are altered so that cameras cannot read them, even though they look normal to the naked eye. Others use incorrect fonts or spacing, and some plates are stolen, fake, or covered with black tape.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is used to enforce traffic rules, insurance, parking payments, and congestion charges. It is also used in areas with heavy traffic and for monitoring air quality requirements. However, a less common application of this technology, which many people may not be aware of, is in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting important sites.

Former government surveillance camera commissioner Tony Porter reported that 80-90% of "misreads" are due to practices like tinting the plates. Fake plates can be bought for as little as £10 from unregulated sellers, and "stealth" reflective tape, which makes plates invisible to ANPR infrared cameras, can be purchased online for £80.

In the past 18 months, 2,184 prosecution notices for counterfeit plates have been issued, with 232 incidents reported by the public. A study found that 40% of taxis and private hire vehicles used methods to avoid video and photo enforcement.

Avoiding ULEZ cameras by using tampered or counterfeit number plates is illegal and carries significant risks. Offenders can face severe legal penalties, including fines, vehicle impoundment, and imprisonment, as well as voided insurance policies. The potential legal and financial consequences far outweigh the short-term benefits of evading charges. The message is clear, don't do it.