What is Vehicle Cloning?
Vehicles are being "cloned" to avoid camera caught offences, to hide their identity and to give a false history for sale. Because the police have access to the vehicle database at DVLA, Swansea, there is little point in the thief simply picking a registration number at random.
If he does, a police DVLA check would show immediately that the Mini ahead is registered as a Volvo and something is wrong. As the whole idea is not to be stopped and identified by the police, such an approach is stupid. Instead they look for another Mini with the same specifications and take over its number. A quick DVLA check now confirms it is indeed a Mini apparently correctly registered. Now the problems start for the true owner, who has no idea there is a problem, as his car was not stolen. However when the unpaid parking tickets, speeding fines, London congestion charge demands etc start flooding in, it is up to the unfortunate individual to try to prove that he was not responsible.
Not surprisingly that is extremely difficult, stressful and time wasting as the authorities concerned simply will not believe him just because he says it isn't true. He may end up having to reregister his car with a different number. There have been incidents where an innocent motorist has been stopped by armed police because the car he is driving has the number plate of the vehicle used in the robbery. In my case, both my car and its personalised LAW number plate are well known, recognised and observed so that hopefully I would be able to show where it was at any time.
One hazard for the cloners is that the information available to the police also includes whether or not the car is currently insured. Pick a number from one that is uninsured and the cloner's vehicle could be seized and crushed instead. Isn't life unfair?
Such cloning also is used to change the history of a car being sold. A check with the various authorities will apparently show the vehicle has not been stolen, written off in an accident, has a low mileage and is not subject to hire purchase. Unfortunately that information does not refer to the car you have just paid for but to the one that really has that registered number. Check the VIN matches too. If you have paid a private individual for a vehicle that is not genuine, there is little chance of getting any money back.
Before you buy
Buying a used car checklist
Procedure for stolen vehicles
Vehicle Identity Check