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Those motorists who live in areas controlled by congestion charges are increasingly coming under threat from a new breed of criminal menace. Police and motor insurance companies are warning drivers of an increase in number plate thefts, stolen to avoid paying the congestion charge.
The incidence of number plate theft has been rising steadily since the introduction of the congestion charge, with police saying that the thieved plates are used to avoid detection. As well as evading the congestion charge, the stolen plates are also used to fool number plate recognition cameras designed to catch drivers without motor insurance and other criminals.
In an attempt to curb crime the driver licensing authorities have also made it harder to buy plates without comprehensive documentation to prove ownership of a car with the requested plates.
More than 14,000 plates have been reported stolen to motor insurance companies and as a result the companies are now offering special policies which include new number plate screws that will damage the surface of the plate if tampered with.
Police also say that many who have been caught in the congestion charge zone without having paid are now falsely claiming that their plates have been stolen.