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The Register of Number Plate Suppliers

The Scheme

The object of the scheme is to ensure that number plates are only sold to purchasers who can establish a connection with the vehicle for which the plates are intended and can verify their own details.  This is achieved by producing documents such as the vehicle registration certificate V5C(NI)/V5C and the photocard driving licence.  Number plate suppliers are required to keep records of sales and make them available for inspection by the police and representatives of the Secretary of State:

This is an important source of information for the investigation of vehicle crime.  These measures introduce some control over the supply of number plates and represent an essential component of the Government’s vehicle crime reduction strategy.

Who does it affect?

A number plate supplier is someone whose business consists wholly or partly of supplying number plates, ie finished plates that include the registration mark of a vehicle registered with DVA/DVLA.   Manufacturers, distributors, assemblers, motor factors, motor dealers and retail outlets including on-line retailers could fall within the scope of the scheme provided that they supply the finished product.

Who does not have to register?

  • suppliers who only supply plates for newly registered vehicles for the first time in the UK; and
  • manufacturers of number plate components who do not sell complete plates; are outside the scope of the legislation.

How to apply to register as a number plate supplier

For information on what you need to do and the application forms needed to register, please see How to register as a number plate supplier.

Sales records

The scheme requires businesses to provide records of sales to assist the police and representatives of the Secretary of State in the detection of crime.  For further information, please see Registered number plate supplier - sales records.


In January 2003 a Register of Number Plate Suppliers was introduced in England and Wales and all suppliers of number plates were required to register with the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).  It is an offence for manufacturers to provide number plates or materials to suppliers in England and Wales who are not listed on the register unless they are exempt.

The Road Safety Act 2006 made provision for the scheme to be extended to Northern Ireland from 1 November 2008.  From this date it is an offence to supply number plates that do not comply with the law.
The Road Safety Act 2006 also gave DVA/DVLA enforcement powers to enter premises, seize records and prosecute number plate suppliers who do not comply with the legislation regarding the supply of number plates.

There is a team of inspectors who visit suppliers’ premises and they are available to answer questions and offer advice about the scheme and the legislation surrounding it.  If offences under the Act are believed to have been committed a prosecution might follow.

It is an offence for motorists to display non-compliant plates on their vehicles but until 1November 2008 it had not been an offence to supply them.  Some suppliers advise their customers that non-compliant plates cannot be used on the road and are for display purposes only.  From November 2008, irrespective of any advice provided by suppliers, it is an offence to supply non-compliant plates with a maximum penalty of £2,500 and/or suspension from the register of number plates suppliers for up to five years.  This offence applies throughout the United Kingdom.

In the event of a conviction, a Magistrates’ Court may either fine/suspend (or both) a supplier if they fail to comply with the requirements of the scheme.  The court has the power to suspend a supplier from the register for up to five years.

Information Brief for Enforcement Authorities (INF 195/1)
Display of registration Marks for Motor Vehicles (OOJ/6/138) (PDF)
link to: Theft Resistant Plates on Direct.Gov and a link to Criteria for Theft Resistant Number Plates (OOJ/6/036) (PDF).


Any unauthorised use of the DVA name or marks (except where correctly describing or identifying services provided by DVA) could constitute an offence, and DVA reserves the right to take legal action against any such infringements without further notice.

Charter Mark

Page Last Updated - 29/07/2008