The DVLA has been accused of encouraging drivers to break the law after selling off vehicle registration marks that can be easily altered to spell out words.
A three day auction earlier this month raised more than three million pounds from 'personalised plates' including BAR III Y which could be simply altered to spell BARMY, LOU 115A (Louisa) and BLA 573R (Blaster). The DVLA holds auctions six times a year and the sales have raised up to 1.3 billion for the treasury since 1989. Income so far this year is £87 million with the DVLA keeping 14 million to cover the cost of the sales.
Road safety groups and motoring organisations say the value of the plates depends on the alteration being made to the numbers and letters. This statement does appear to be nearer the truth, a telephone bidder paid £6000 for AHM 5D and his name was AHMED.
There does seem to be a clear inconsistency in the behaviour of the DVLA as the rules state even the slightest modification to licence plates will incur a £1 000 fine and a failed MOT test. Earlier this year police forces, together with the DVLA launched a crackdown on modified plates as they were being used by unscrupulous motorists to dodge speed traps and the London congestion charge. A spokesman for the DVLA said that it is made very clear at the auctions that registration marks must be correctly displayed and if you intend purchasing a registration to misrepresent it on a number plate then they would prefer you did not buy.