Sussex is high up the list of counties falling foul of the law by driving or keeping a car with an illegal number plate in 2015.
New data released by Click4Reg shows that in 2015, 5,395 people in England were stopped by the police and fined and/or prosecuted for displaying an illegal number plate on their car.
Although full data for 2016 is not yet available, provisional figures up to November indicate at least 3,385 people received penalties for illegal number plates.
Sussex sits 11th in the 2015 table, with 166 bookings for illegal plates. Neighbouring Surrey is second in the table with 494.
If your number plate is obscured (including by dirt) or missing, or if you have a private number plate that does not comply with DVLA regulations, then not only will you fail your MOT test, but you could be fined up to £1,000.
You don’t even have to get behind the wheel – just keeping a car with an illegal number plate is an offence.
The DVLA regulations stipulate not only that the registration must be two letters, two numbers, a space and three further letters, but also that the correct font, character size and spacing must be used – and this can be where people unintentionally fall foul of the law.
“A growing number of people are opting for personalised number plates, but if you buy from a market stall, for example, you can’t be sure that the plate will meet with all the DVLA regulations,’ says Ben Leonard, MD of Click4Reg. “The only way to be sure is to buy from a registered number plate supplier – you can find a list on the DVLA website.”
The Click4Reg data was compiled via a Freedom of Information request, using figures supplied by 35 out of England’s 38 police forces.
The data reveals that the South-East has the highest proliferation of illegal number plate offenders – London has the highest with a whopping 812.
A network of an estimated 8,300 traffic cameras make 30m ‘reads’ of number plates across the country each day – adding up to more than 10bn reads a year.