Police drive down number plate thefts in South Yorkshire

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A CAMPAIGN to protect motorists from the rising crime of number plate theft has been launched by Doncaster police.

Customers visiting a local supermarket were able to have special screws fitted to prevent plates being taken off by crooks who use them to commit other vehicle crime.

Since the start of this year, there has been an average of one set of plates taken every day across Doncaster.

The stolen plates are fitted to other cars, often of the same make and model, to carry out driveaway thefts from petrol stations or to ‘clone’ a car of the same type so it can be sold to innocent victims.

In the first local operation officers from Bentley, Adwick and Askern Safer Neighbourhood Teams worked in partnership with Morrisons supermarket on York Road and Bentley Road Garage to set up an initiative in the store’s car park for members of the public to take advantage to receive advice and practical assistance.

The initiative involved special anti-theft number plate screws being fitted to both the front and rear plates to protect them from being stolen. The screws cannot be removed by a normal screwdriver and a special key is needed.

Officers also provided information and assistance to the public by registering their mobile phones and other electrical equipment on Immobilise, a national database used by police forces across the country to assist in tracing and returning items to the rightful owner if they are ever stolen.

More than 170 vehicles were fitted with the anti-theft number plate screws.

While at the supermarket the officers also seized a motorbike because the owner was riding it in an anti-social manner.

Acting Sgt Paul Setterfield said: “This was a great operation which has assisted the public to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of crime. It has also highlighted how local businesses are supporting us in preventing crime, and from the positive feedback received, we will be planning another operation in the near future.”