Q. To complete a set of family numberplates, I would like to acquire H8 STP. I have checked online and the plate exists but is not on an insured car. I cannot check the tax status of the vehicle the plate is on because I don’t know its make or model. The plate is not on the DVLA’s list of those for sale. Is there any way I can have the plate resurrected and buy it?
PP, Leek, Staffordshire
A. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) holds back some registration plates to sell, either via its website or at auction — see dvlaregistrations.direct.gov.uk. Auctions can also include some plates that are specific customer requests. “A customer can contact us about any registration that falls into any of the UK formats, both past and present,” the DVLA said. “We would then contact the customer when it became available to buy or will be offered for auction.”
However, the DVLA sells only unissued numbers. As the plate you want has been issued, the DVLA will not be able to help.
An alternative is to ask a commercial dealer, who can track down specific plates and try to negotiate a sale. We spoke to John Kirkbright, owner of platehunter.com, which has more than 50m numberplates for sale via its website. He carried out a quick vehicle history check (instantcarcheck.co.uk) and traced H8 STP to a 2002 Toyota MR2, which has not had an MoT certificate since 2011.
He then used this information to check the car on the DVLA website at vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk and discovered that it has statutory off-road notification (Sorn).
“There’s a chance it is sitting in a garage somewhere but, as Sorn no longer needs to be renewed every year, it’s just as likely the car was written off and scrapped,” said Kirkbright. “That means the plate would have been lost and won’t be reissued.”
Are you the owner of that Toyota? Is your car in a garage? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll put you in touch.
Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor – read more from Emma here.
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