Number plate changes are most common illegal car upgrade with over 13,000 affected

DVLA number plate sells for over £25,000 at auction

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More than 13,000 drivers were caught driving with altered number plates last year, more than any other unlawful upgrade. The 13,720 offenders accounted for 56 percent of all modification concerns among drivers.

Changes to a car’s headlights were the second most popular upgrade with over 5,700 motorists affected.

Illegally tinted car windows were spotted on more than 3,000 cars last year, making up 17 percent of all illegal notifications.

Finally, changes to the exhaust were also listed as a major problem by Compare the Market.

Only 776 drivers were caught with illegal exhausts, making up just three percent of all dodgy modifications.

Compare the Market uncovered the data through a Freedom of Information Act request to local police forces.

Dan Hutson, Head of Motor Insurance at Compare the Market, has warned any illegal modifications risks “invalidating” insurance.

He has urged drivers to always do their research before installing a new part and letting a provider know about any changes as soon as possible.

This is because lawful modifications could “increase car insurance premiums” as the vehicle may be seen as higher risk.

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He said: “Modifications tend to fall into two categories: performance or cosmetic.

“But any modification, no matter how minor, should be reported to your car insurance provider.

“Lawful modifications can increase car insurance premiums, so it’s best to check with your provider before making any changes and there are some providers who specialise in modified cars.

“Modifications which are against the law are likely to invalidate any type of car insurance policy, so do your research beforehand.”

The new data from Compare the Market also revealed the UK’s top hotspots for illegal modifications.

Gloucestershire topped the list with an average of 1,452 offences per one million people on average.

Norfolk was second with 1,251 offences per one million people. This was followed by Northern Ireland and Suffolk.

London was fifth with a massive 9,373 offences recorded over the past year.

Based on averages, this worked out at 1,047 offences per one million people.

According to GOV.UK, drivers must show their registration number correctly at all times.

You cannot rearrange letters, numbers or alter them to make it harder to read.

Drivers are warned they could be fined up to £2,000 and a vehicle may fail its MOT test if a car is fitted with incorrectly displayed number plates.

According to Auto Express, a policy from the DVLA shows drivers who are caught displaying a number plate which fails to meet reactions more than once could face consequences.

This could see the registration rescinded and a driver issued a new random design.

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