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Motorists Face 330 Per Cent Increase in Penalty Fines

March 27, 2012
Posted in Nationla Numbers News — Written by matthew.smith

The DVLA have released alarming statistics, showing that automatic parking fines issued by private companies have risen dramatically following the introduction of new monitoring technology enforced in supermarkets and other car parks.

Electronic requests made to the DVLA from private parking companies for vehicle details had jumped from 272,215 in 2006/2007 to 1,167,713 in 2010/11.

This rise of 329 per cent has seen motorists hit with average parking fines of lb80, and penalties such as these have cost drivers approximately lb93million in 2010/11 compared with lb21million in 2007.

The drastic rise in parking costs was exposed by Nick Smith, Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, following a request to the DVLA.

Many constituents of Mr Smith had written to him, complaining about the car park attached to The Walk shopping precinct in Ebbw Vale.

“The car park had been there for years but had not been very professionally run. Lots of residents had become used to using it for free without any problem,” explained Mr Smith.

“When the car park was taken over by a new parking management company, Excel Parking Services, the complaints started to come in.

“Excel came in and began enforcing the rules very aggressively, but there was not enough improvement to the signage to let people know what was expected.”

Excel reject claims that their parking enforcement is too aggressive, stating: “Great attention to detail is taken when specifying sign schedules for car parks managed by Excel Parking, and every effort is made to position such signs in the most prominent user friendly locations.

“We strongly refute the allegation that aggressive parking enforcement took place.”

Patrick Troy, chief executive of the British Parking Association (BPA) believes that technological advances are behind the increase as opposed to harsher enforcement.

“The technology has moved forward and it is less likely for you to see a warden strolling around a car park any more,” he explained.

“While there has been a rise in fines issued this way, it means fewer fines are being attached to windscreens.

“There are more out-of-town retailers and they are looking for ways to control their parking spaces so that they can keep their customers numbers turning over.”

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Victim of Police Shooting was in Stolen Audi with False Plates

Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

It has been reported that a man who was shot dead by police may have been sitting in a stolen car with false number plates when the incident took place.

Anthony Granger was 36 when a police officer fired a single shot from a sub-machine gun through the windscreen of his red Audi, piercing his heart.

The vehicle had been tracked by police for some time when armed officers approached it.

The officers are believed to have ordered the three men in the car to raise their hands into the air, and when Mr Grainger failed to do so, he was shot.

It’s now believed that the vehicle was stolen and equipped with false number plates.

In addition, no weapons were found on a preliminary search of the vehicle, the policeman who made the fatal shot was an experienced firearms officer and hasn’t been suspended from duty following this incident.

Also, during the operation, two weapons were fired and a CS gas canister was used by police.

“It is very important we carry out a thorough assessment of all the issues before any decisions are made,” explained Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police.

“We are carrying out this assessment in close liaison with the Police Federation, the line managers of all those officers involved and the IPCC.”

The inquest into Mr Grainger’s death was adjourned by Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg, awaiting the findings of the IPCC investigation.

”Our investigation into the actions of the officers at the scene, the planning and implementation of the police operation and the reason for the deployment and discharge of firearms is progressing,” explained IPCC commissioner Naseem Malik.

“There is a great deal of work still to be done including forensic examinations, ballistic tests and interviews with a number of police officers.

“Investigators have identified some witnesses to events but I would urge anyone who has information about the incident to come forward to assist our investigation.

“Any piece of information, no matter how insignificant you believe it to be, can assist us.”

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Wigan Man Warns about Number Plate Scams

March 26, 2012
Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

A businessman from Wigan has been hit by a cloning scam which left him with nearly lb400 worth of fines to pay.

Tony Dunn was left shocked when three fixed penalty charges were issued to him by London councils for offences committed by a motorist using the registration number registered to his Ford Transit.

Mr Dunn, 40, who runs construction firm Dunn, is now locked in a battle to clear his name.

Evidence has been provided by Mr Dunn that proves his van was in use elsewhere when the offences were committed.

The vehicle that committed the crimes is also a white Ford Transit, but a photo proves that it is clearly different.

This fine was overturned, but there are still two fines outstanding, and Mr Dunn is considering changing his number plates, if not the vehicle.

“It is extremely annoying,” said Mr Dunn.

“It is creating a lot of work that we don’t need.

“I can’t help wondering when the next letter’s coming along.

“It is possible someone looked up my van details on any one of several official websites and took the scam from there.”

“We had never been there.

“The council sent photographic evidence and while it was a white Transit it wasn’t ours.

“Ours has a roof rack, stickers on the bodywork and dealership details on the numberplate and that one didn’t.

“We were ordered to pay lb85 which would rise to lb170 if not paid in 28 days.

“We got a statement from a customer in Merseyside confirming the van was there on the day of the infringement but it is still not sorted despite calls to the police and DVLA.”

“I want to warn other vehicle owners about this.

“Don’t ignore the fines but contact the police in the area the offence took place, and get a crime reference number; contact the DVLA and send it a letter about the charges (while keeping a copy).

“Obtain as much proof as possible for your vehicle’s alibi and complete the form that comes with the fines that allows you to challenge them as quickly as possible.

“I am now seriously considering forking out to change the plates if not the vehicle.”

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Crackdown on Metal Theft a ‘Success’

March 7, 2012
Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

Police have come to the end of a month-long crackdown on metal theft throughout Cornwall and Devon.

Throughout February, police mounted Operation Mountain; an operation created to disturb and reduce the amount of metal thefts in the regions.

Due to the recent upsurge in metal prices coupled with the economic difficulties throughout the country, metal thefts have risen nationwide, with Devon and Cornwall also subjected to this rise.

Travelling criminals have stolen from many rural locations where policing isn’t as prominent, with new building developments, rail networks, industrial sites, churches, schools and areas with installed cables hit the hardest.

Officers aimed their attentions towards vehicles travelling along roads in Devon and Cornwall, with stop-checks carried out with the support of intelligence-led policing.

Police implemented Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems to combat the thefts.

High visibility patrols have also been used as a deterrent to anyone thinking about committing a crime.

Inspector Dave Meredith believes it’s too early to assess the level of success the operation had, but similar operations will be conducted in the future.

“Stop-checks on vehicles were generally very well received, with several drivers of commercial vehicles stating that their business had suffered losses over recent months from the increase in metal thefts,” officer Meredith explained.

“This operation sends out a clear message that Devon and Cornwall police recognise the impact of metal thefts on the community, and are prepared to dedicate resources to detect and deter offenders involved in these crimes.”

Anyone who sees suspicious activity in the area is urged to contact their local police force with any details.

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Couple Found Guilty of Insurance Fraud

Posted in Number Plate News — Written by matthew.smith

A couple purchased a written-off car, then attempted to claim for an insurance payout for its full value, claiming it had been stolen.

The couple’s attempted deception was detected because none of the number plate recognition cameras situated in the Midlands had detected the Vauxhall Corsa since Andrew Morris had bought it.

Mr Morris was subsequently taken into custody after a judge stated that there was no reason why he shouldn’t begin his “inevitable jail sentence” immediately.

Leamington crown court found Mr Morris, 43, or Wolston, guilty of conspiring to commit fraud, concealing criminal property, a stolen Volkswagen Golf and obtaining the key to a stolen Volkswagen Passat.

His partner, Sharon Billingham, 41, of Coventry, was also found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud and concealing criminal property.

Prosecuting, Michelle Heeley told the jury how three stolen cars were used to make claims that the cars were stolen in order to receive payments from insurance companies.

A stolen car had been found by police at Mr Morris’ property, so following further investigation, the insurance fraud was uncovered.

The car was insured for lb8,000 in April by Ms Billingham, and reported as stolen two months later while they were in an Indian restaurant.

Miss Heeley, prosecuting, queried why there was no class where the Corsa was supposed to have been parked, as it used an electronic key system, which would have made entry and ignition very difficult without it.

The insurance company did not pay out, after deeming the receipt for the purchase of the Corsa for lb7,800 from a man from Leicester as suspicious.

Police checked their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and found that the Corsa had not been detected on any of their cameras in the Midlands, and therefore, had not been driven from Leicester and not been on the road from the day it was purchased.

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900 Police Officers to Target Crime in Bristol

Posted in Number Plates — Written by matthew.smith

Almost 1,000 police officers are implementing a massive operation today, in a bid to combat crime in Bristol.

Briefings were given to officers at 4am in Police Headquarters, preparing police for the operation to tackle crimes varying from violent crime to burglary.

Warrants have also been issued against a number of second-hand goods dealers and drug dealers across the city.

Criminals will also have to face a rigorous Automatic Number Plate Recognition operation, with the city’s CCTV department helping to combat crime.

Many ‘anti-social hotspots’ will also be visited by police teams, looking to implement crime reduction work with the support of local elderly and vulnerable people.

Supporting the local people and ensuring that they feel safe is key to the operation, according to Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham.

The idea behind the operation “was about keeping people in Bristol safe through visible high-impact policing” according to Constable Bangham.

“This is the largest Operation Relentless day of action since its inception in 2005 which reinforces the force’s commitment to stamp out crime and all those involved in it.”

The operation will be streamed live on the Avon and Somerset Police website all day, trying to show the people how police look to keep the people of Bristol safe.

Twitter users can also follow the operation using the hashtag #oprelentless.

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