Number plate theft may not seem like a big deal, but it can wreak havoc on innocent drivers. Plates are usually stolen in order to be used in criminal activities – anything from ram raiding and drug trafficking, to driving away from petrol forecourts without paying. The onus is on the owner of the original plates to prove that they are innocent, but in the meantime the fines and court summons will just keep on stacking up.

The AA has been warning about the dangers of number-plate theft for years, and there are now a whole host of great products and services out there to help ensure that your normal plates or even your show plates stay attached to your car. Here are five of our top tips to make sure that your number-plates are never stolen in the UK.

1. Get personalised plates

Thieves are much less likely to go for personalised number plates as they are instantly recognisable and eye-catching. If you’re trying to make an anonymous getaway, you’re probably not going to succeed if you’re driving around with name-specific plates.

2. Have your plates professionally fitted

If you’ve just shelled out for new number plates, it can be tempting to save a bit of money by fitting them onto the car yourself. However, unless you can match the tool store of your local garage, you are unlikely to fully secure them. Think about it – if you can screw the plates on with little difficulty, it won’t be too difficult for thieves to screw them back off again.

3. Invest in a numberplate lock kit

If you’re concerned about numberplate security (for instance, if you have bought a second hand car with the plates already affixed), invest in a lock kit. They cost around a fiver from most garages and auto shops, and include security fasteners and extra strong adhesive which make your plates that little bit harder to detach.

4. Park in safe spots 

It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but there are certain times and places where you are more likely to be the victim of numberplate theft. When you are parking long-term, always choose a secure lot which has its own security detail and CCTV cameras. For short term parking, choose a well-lit area and park among other vehicles.

5. Fit theft-resistant plates

If you are buying new plates, opt for the theft-resistant version. These are designed to break apart if they have been forcibly removed from the car, so that thieves won’t be able to re-use them. This can also help speed up your insurance claim as the broken plates offer proof of theft, and may even offer up a few guilty fingerprints too.

So there you have it. Whether it be car number plates or motorcycle show plates make sure they are well secured! Check out this warning on number plate theft from the UK New Forest council back in 2012!