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Police to Crack Down on Dodgy Foreign Registered Cars

Published 10 October 2014

Hot on the heels of of EC wide cross border tracing of cars involved in motoring offences, the government has announced a crackdown on cars that have been in the UK too long on foreign plates.

It is illegal for any car to have remained in the UK on foreign plates for more than 6 months, but because the law has not been enforced foreign plates have long been used to avoid ANPR speeding and parking tickets and many cars in the UK on foreign plates are not taxed, tested or insured.

Now the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the police are joining forces to identify and take action against foreign motorists who drive in the UK illegally. 

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, national lead for roads policing said: “Regardless of their country of origin, or that of their car, it is the responsibility of every driver to ensure that they are obeying the laws that govern our roads in the UK, and that includes falling in line with the laws on taxation, registration and insurance as well as those on safe driving. I fully endorse the  crackdown and the new information sharing trial between the police service and HMRC, which will allow us to deal more effectively with criminality on our roads, thereby increasing our communities' safety and security. Be assured, the police will act firmly but fairly to deal with any driver breaking the law.”

Foreign vehicles must be registered and licensed in the UK when they have been here more than six months in any twelve month period.

But it is estimated that up to 350,000 foreign registered vehicles entered the UK and overstayed the 6 month exemption period without registering and licensing between 2010 and 2013 – costing the taxpayer £60 million every year in lost tax revenue.

The new trial, which starts on 3 November and will run until February 2015, will see HMRC share information with six police forces on foreign vehicles that have entered the UK and that may have overstayed the permitted six months in any 12 month period. 

The six forces taking part will be Thames Valley, Hampshire, West Midlands, and Northamptonshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire. These six forces have devolved powers that allows them to take direct enforcement against untaxed vehicles.

This will transform enforcement by allowing police to seize and impounded the vehicles of those who have overstayed. The registered keeper will have to pay a £200 release fee and a £160 surety fee, plus storage fees, to get the vehicle back.

The DVLA will also issue the registered keeper with an out-of-court settlement demand for the unpaid tax which will lead to a prosecution if the keeper fails to pay up.

Illegal vehicles identified by the Police will be impounded. In order for the vehicle to be released the registered keeper will need to pay the release fees and surety (£200 release fee, £160 surety and £21 per day storage fees.

DVLA will issue the  registered keeper with an out of court settlement and failure to pay could result in the keeper being prosecuted The amount requested will be £30 plus 1.5 times the outstanding vehicle tax rate for the time the vehicle has overstayed. Failure to pay could result in the keeper being prosecuted.


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178rod    on 13 October 2014

What about the vanity plates that DVLA make a nice little earner on? Owners usually alter the characters and spacing to spell something out, making a mockery of the road tax being monitored by camera systems. Not to mention the current fashion to have a number plates printed in another countries character set along with contry code, or sports motorcycles with those small impossible to read plates

Schnitzel    on 17 October 2014

The ANPR in police cars can generally read these - these days. They also ready foreign (modern EU retroflective) ones and know what country they are from.

Rebecca Hung    on 13 October 2014

About time!
Sick of these foreigners coming to the UK and deliberately flaunting our motoring laws whilst the rest of the genuine UK residents have to abide by the law or pay the consequences!
These foreign vehicles also have illegal window tints and those ridiculous hid conversion headlights that blind other motorists.
Crush foreign vehicles after 6 months like you do to UK uninsured motorists!

Schnitzel    on 17 October 2014

They don't bother to dip their headlights to the left either.

barnstormer    on 16 October 2014

Le poste precedent est le spam! Just a load of nonsense!
Anyway- on the rare occasions that I venture back to the swamp that is the UK for a week or so-haven't been back since 2012-with a french registered and legally insured vehicle I should expect to be harassed as how long I have been in the UK and it will be up to me to prove that I haven't been in the UK for 6 months or it's goodbye car in the crusher- How the hell do I prove that I haven't been in the UK for six months?

Tom    on 29 November 2014

I'm from Poland but have full UK driving license. Can somebody explain to my why any of you (british) including Police is not using the f.... indicators ? I completely agree that that nobody should avoid the law. But before you start "shouting" about the foreigners. Just look at your self first.

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