Cheshire was below the national average showing an increase of just 8%.
Other findings by Halfords showed that 98% of drivers in the UK are unable to tell the difference between a legal and illegal number plate, and that young people are six times more likely to buy an illegal number plate than those over 45.
Number plate crime findings
Some of the findings of Halfords’ number plate crime survey:
- Illegal number plate offences have risen by an average of 18% between 2016 and 2017, with Cheshire seeing an increase of 8% (130 offences in 2016 and 140 in 2017)
- 98% of drivers are unable to tell the difference between legal and illegal number plate
- Young drivers are six times more likely to buy an illegal number plate than those over 45
- 1 in 20 UK drivers think they can legally use a football club crest on their number plate
- 1 in 20 motorists admitted to previously buying an illegal number plate from an unregistered supplier
- 83% of UK drivers unable to say what the letters on a number plate mean
- Two in five people would drive a car with a cracked, and therefore illegal number plate
- 99% of UK drivers don’t know which flags can be legally used on a number plate
- 85% of drivers don’t know what documents they need to provide when buying a number plate
Several areas in the UK showed particularly dramatic rises. Warwickshire, Dorset, Gwent and Northumbria were the highest, increasing by 179%, 161%, 96%, and 94% respectively.
Katie Sexton, number plate expert at Halfords said: “The study proves that there is a lack of understanding of the legalities surrounding number plates.
“With number plate crime on the rise, it is important that motorists get their replacement number plates from a reputable registered supplier, such as Halfords, and are asked to provide proof of identification and entitlement to show that they have the right to use the registration.”