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Woman’s Victory in Winning Back Car Discovers it’s Been Destroyed

January 21, 2012
Posted in DVLA News — Written by matthew.smith

A Tamworth woman has won her long-fought battle with the DVLA after her car was “unlawfully” towed away, has been left devastated to find it’s been crushed.

After two-and-a-half years of battling with authorities, Anita Underhill-Smith of Grassholme, Stonydelph, is relieved that this nightmare is over.

“The last two-and-a-half years of my life has been terrible,” revealed Anita.

“No-one should have to go through it.

“There are times when I have not slept. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.”

After the vehicle was damaged by car thieves in 2009, Anita declared the car as off the road as she couldn’t afford to have it repaired.

“I asked the police if it could be parked at the back of my home and they said it would be OK,” Anita revealed.

“Because it was broken into I could not afford to get it repaired, but I kept it insured.

“In the November one of the neighbours knocked on the door saying there was a warning sticker on the car. I tried to telephone the number but there was no answer.”

However, the next day she watched from the window to see her car “going down the road on the back of a truck.”

“I phoned the DVLA and the council but no-one could tell me where my car had gone.

“I was just banging my head against a brick wall. It was phone number after phone number after phone number.

“The DVLA did not know where it was. Nobody knew.”

She moved house in January 2010, but in September there were “two men banging at the door”.

“They said ‘we are here to arrest you for non-payment of a fine’,” Anita added.

“I told them I had not had a fine, but I was taken to Cannock and into court, but no-one had any paperwork.”

Magistrates told her that the situation would be resolved, but after eight months, Anita’s name appeared in the Herald’s weekly court lists.

It stated that she had been convicted of keeping an unlicensed motor on the road, and fined lb235, plus costs.

“I went to work and everyone said ‘you’re a dark horse’,” Anita said.

“Then I read in the Herald I had been fined.

“I sent a letter to the court, saying I refused to pay and would appeal.”

Earlier this month Stafford Crown Court threw the case out.

“A judge ruled that my car had been taken unlawfully,” she said. “I represented myself against a barrister from the DVLA.

“The judge asked if I had any questions and I said ‘where’s my car?'”

An investigation showed that the car had been scrapped, leaving Anita devastated.

“It’s wrong. It’s awful to see your name in the paper guilty of an offence and you know nothing about it.”

Anita will pursue compensation from the DVLA this week after visiting her solicitor.

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Welsh Cameras Tackle Number Plate Thefts

Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

The use of number plate recognition cameras could be the reason for the sharp drop in number plate thefts.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that thefts of number plates have dropped in Wales, from 1,224 in 2008/09 to 956 in 2010/11.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition might be the reason for the downturn in the theft of registration plates, as police can instantly detect cars using the wrong plates, according to Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA.

“If you want to drive uninsured, you’re not going to get very far if the system spots your car isn’t registered as insured,” explained Mr Howard.

“If the police spot that the blue car (with those plates) should be white, it could be the sort of thing that ends with you getting pulled over.”

He believes that detecting number plates that have been reported as stolen can be detected much more easily and helps to reduce other crimes, too.

“So much boils down to the fact that if someone is a criminal they have little regard for the law generally,” he added.

“You can quite often find that they will drive uninsured or break the speed limit. That’s why so many major criminals end up being caught by the police (for minor driving offences).”

Gary Kelly, police inspector for North Wales Police, is backing the technology in its use against crime.

“Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology is deployed extensively across North Wales so should thieves steal number plates, we will immediately be able to recognise if they have been placed on another vehicle when it passes one of our ANPR locations or vehicles,” he revealed.

“This is sending a strong message to criminals, that if they steal cars or number plates in North Wales they will be caught.”

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Scottish Gangster Cashes in on Prized lb20k Registration

Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

Ian “Blink” McDonald, one of Scotland’s most famous gangsters, has sold his most prized number plate for over lb20,000.

McDonald chose to sell the number plate following the deliberate torching of his Mercedes.

This incident isn’t the first time that McDonald has been targeted.

Members of the Scottish criminal underworld have made several attempts on his life.

Past attempts have seen a bomb attached to his car, as well as a fire-bombing attempt.

Following these attacks, McDonald is now hoping to keep a lower profile.

“I’ve been keeping a lower profile lately and I decided to get rid of the number plate. I sold it for over lb20,000 – I was pleased with the deal.

“I almost felt like I shouldn’t have sold it to the guy because his car will probably end up getting blown up.

“It’s a great reg but I just decided I would be better with something that didn’t stand out so much.

“I’m not sure where it is but hopefully the new owner isn’t mistaken for me.”

McDonald loved cruising around in his Black Mercedes, bearing the ‘B1 LNK’ numberplate for which he was so infamously associated with.

Following the 2009 fire-bomb attack, insurers refused to pay out, causing McDonald to adopt a lower profile.

Just days after his car was attacked, rivals attacked McDonald, slashing his face and attempting to cut his throat.McDonald now drives a Vauxhall Astra with a regular number plate.

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