Cloned number plate victim has more to do after brakes put on penalty charge

When Pauline Everest got the demand out of the blue it made no sense whatever.

But the primary problem was stopping the problem spiralling, she told Crusader a couple of weeks ago.

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“The charge was £120 for being in Birmingham and breaching the clean air zone rules.

“But I own a Volvo and the pictures show a Mazda car with my number plate. Aside from that I have never been to the city.”

This happened last autumn and Pauline duly replied, explaining the mistake backed by evidence.

In October Birmingham City Council confirmed the charge had been cancelled and understandably she thought that was that.

But it wasn’t because this month she received yet another a new charge for a contravention apparently in December.

“I’m getting really fed up with the time and cost this is taking. Everything I submit goes by recorded delivery so it’s received and I’m not blamed again,” she said when her husband Peter asked for Crusader’s help ensuring this was put to bed once and for all.

Clearly Pauline was a victim of number plate cloning and while that poses a bigger problem, the immediate thing was to get the charge cancelled.

Birmingham City Council jumped on it quickly following our alert, saying:

“The Council follows the statutory enforcement process for the issuing and enforcement of penalty charge notices.

“These are sent to the address of a registered keeper of a vehicle, based on the information held by the DVLA at the point it is issued. In a situation where someone believes that a penalty charge notice has been issued to them incorrectly there are opportunities for challenge at each stage of the process.

“We can confirm that these penalty charges have now been cancelled.” [names have been changed]

How to protect yourself from cloned car number plate crooks

Pauline and Peter are very relieved the PCN has been wiped, but with number plate cloning very likely the cause of the problem, there’s more they have to do to protect themselves in future.

This offence is rapidly increasing as crooks evade fines, flout compliancy and make it harder for the police to trace them. The onus is on victims to prove they’re not the offender.

Essential next steps if you become one: once you have alerted the authority issuing the PCN, tell the DVLA so it can make a note on your vehicle’s record. Then report it to the police, either online or by calling the non-emergency number 101.

Avoid posting photos of your car on social media anyway, a common go-to source for crooks, and having dashcam evidence can be very useful.