Warning as licence plate thefts mount

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BICESTER’S rural police officers are advising motorists to secure their licence plates with tamper-proof screws after a rise in the number of thefts.

PC Caroline Brown, of the Bicester Rural South team, said police are linking the rise in number plate thefts to the crime of “bilking” – or leaving petrol station forecourts without paying for fuel.

PC Brown reported there had been almost 70 incidents of bilking in the Bicester area over the past 12 months.

She said: “Officers believe number plates are being stolen in response to rising fuel costs, as in a crime known as bilking the thieves place the stolen plates over the top of legitimate registrations, fill the car with fuel and drive off without paying.

“It is important that these thefts are reported to police as victims may receive summonses for unpaid parking fines and speeding tickets or may be questioned about bilkings.”

In a recent initiative, officers from the Bicester Rural South team stopped all drivers entering the service station in Baynards Green to offer advice and hand out free tamper-proof licence plate screws.

A man has already been arrested and is being processed by the courts in connection with licence plate thefts in the Bicester area.

Members of Bicester’s rural policing team will be meeting local residents and giving out advice at the Fringford village firework display running from 7pm to 8pm tomorrow, Saturday.

Members of the public can get tamper-proof screws by contacting the Bicester rural police team via 08458 505505 or by emailing bicesterruralnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.