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Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001

Part 2: Regulation of Registration Plate Suppliers

11.The main objective of this Part of the Act is to regulate the supply of number plates in order to combat vehicle "ringing" and vehicle cloning (using the identity of an existing or scrapped vehicle to disguise another).

12.Many criminals using vehicles to carry out criminal activity use false plates to avoid detection.  Such activity can range from terrorism, the use of getaway cars by armed robbers to burglars using vehicles to transport stolen goods.

13.Prior to this Act there were no controls over the supply of plates.  Suppliers were not required before supplying a set of plates to check the identity of purchasers or their entitlement to use plates containing particular registration marks.  The objective of this Part is to ensure that plates are issued only to those with a genuine reason for having the plates and that they are issued for the correct vehicle.

14.This Part provides for the registration of persons carrying on the business of a number plate supplier; the charging of a registration fee; a power by which a court may remove or suspend registrations; and a power to prosecute for contravention of the statutory requirements.  It also allows the Secretary of State to remove from the register persons whom he believes to have ceased carrying on the relevant business.

15.Part 2 creates a number of new offences: making a false application for registration as a number plate supplier, making such an application while suspended from registration by an order of the court, knowingly selling plates which purport to be registration plates but are not, knowingly supplying plates to a person who is in the business of selling fake registration plates, and knowingly supplying components or plates to an unregistered number plate supplier unless that supplier is an exempt person.

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