Furious drivers could be ‘doctoring number plates’ to avoid £12.50 ULEZ charge
Around two million motorists could be making their number plates “invisible” to ULEZ cameras to avoid the £12.50 charge.
Reflective “stealth” tape that confuses number plate recognition technology can be bought for as little as £80 online. Fake number plates are even cheaper, starting at just £10.
It’s reported worried officials have warned the government that the number of drivers deploying tactics to avoid ULEZ following its expansion last month will rocket.
An investigation by the police in June found six per cent of cars of had “ANPR-defeating material”. The results were from an ANPR camera pointed at a road near Gatwick which found 41 of 683 number plates recorded had been tampered with.
Less subtle action has already been taken against the traffic charge scheme by some people, with the Met Police reporting last week a staggering 171 ULEZ cameras had been vandalised in just over 14 days.
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But Tony Porter, the UK’s former Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said a lot of drivers won’t want to take the risk of carrying out criminal damage on a camera.
He told the Telegraph: “A lot of people will think they don’t want to embark on criminal damage of ULEZ cameras but will be tempted to doctor their number plate to save £12 a day.
“The lack of regulation of the market for plates means we are exposing people to criminality.”
In another example of regulation flouting behaviour, 40 per cent of taxis and private hire vehicles were found to have applied ANPR-beating coatings to their plates.
In a letter to the Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Mr Porter called for greater regulation of businesses selling products that help avoid camera detection.
He wrote: “There is an evident, serious – and wholly unnecessary – vulnerability to the integrity of the national ANPR system which has implications for national security, law enforcement and the public interest related functions which rely on its data.”
In response to the scores of ULEZ cameras being damaged, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has deployed a fleet of camera vans to catch motorists – with 20 sent out by Transport for London to fill gaps left by a lack of cameras or where they have been vandalised.
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