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Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001

Part 2: Regulation of Registration Plate Suppliers

Sections 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23: Requirement of registration of registration plate suppliers

35.Section 17 requires any person who carries on a business as a registration (number) plate supplier in England or Wales, and is not an exempt person, to be registered by the Secretary of State.  It would be an offence to conduct business as a registration plate supplier without being registered.

36.Section 18 requires the Secretary of State (in practice the DVLA) to establish and maintain a register of registration plate suppliers containing particulars to be prescribed by regulation.  The Secretary of State may disclose information from the register and may charge a fee for such disclosure.

37.Section 19 provides for applications for registration and empowers the Secretary of State to charge a fee to recover reasonable costs.

38.Sections 20 to 23 provide for the removal or suspension of a registration by a court where a person has been convicted of an offence under this Part and for the cancellation of a registration where the Secretary of State is satisfied that a registered person has not been carrying on business as a registration plate supplier for at least 28 days.  An intention to cancel must be notified and the supplier given a reasonable opportunity to persuade the authority not to proceed.  In the event of cancellation the supplier has a right of appeal exercisable within 21 days.

Sections 24 and 25: Keeping of Records etc.

39.Section 24 enables the making of regulations to provide for the keeping of records by registration plate suppliers.  It will be an offence to fail to keep records as prescribed, subject to a due diligence defence.

40.Section 25 requires registration plate suppliers to obtain prescribed information from prospective purchasers.  It will be an offence to fail to obtain this information before completing a sale, subject to a due diligence defence.

Sections 26, 27, 28 and 29: Supplementary Provisions and Offences

41.Section 26 gives a police officer or a person appointed by a local authority the right to enter and inspect the premises of a registered business.  A police officer or a person appointed by a local authority may enter other premises where he suspects that there is an unregistered business, provided that a justice of the peace has issued a warrant. Reasonable force may be used in pursuance of the warrant.

42.Section 27 requires a registered person to notify within 28 days any changes to details held on the register or the cessation of business as a registration plate supplier. Failure to notify will be an offence, subject to a due diligence defence.  Section 28 makes it an offence knowingly or recklessly to sell as a registration plate a device which is not a registration plate. It also makes it an offence knowingly to supply components to a person who is in the business of selling fake registration plates for the purposes of that business.

43.Section 29 makes it an offence in certain circumstances to supply a plate to an unregistered person, other than an exempt person, who is carrying on business as a registration plate supplier.

Sections 30 and 31

44.The police or local authorities may bring prosecutions.  Prosecutions by anyone else must have the consent of the Attorney General.  Prosecutions may be brought against corporate bodies and against senior employees of those bodies.  Section 31 defines the terms used in this Part of the Act, including the terms “carrying on a business as a registration plate supplier” and “registration plate”.

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