License plate theft a growing concern

MOST drivers don’t think much about their license plates — until they go missing, that is.

Maryborough Police Senior Constable Melanie Ryan said a worrying trend was being reported across the Fraser Coast, where number plates were being stolen and put on cars used to commit crimes.

“Since April 1, there have been about nine reported incidents for number plates stolen across the district including Glenwood and Fraser Island too,” Snr Const Ryan said.

“This includes some where both plates were stolen and some that only had one taken.”

The plates have been taken from cars parked in front gardens, car ports, garages and shopping centres.

Snr Const Ryan said stolen plates were often used in offences such as fuel theft from petrol stations— a crime which is also on the increase across the region.

“There have been approximately 28 petrol drive offs since April 1,” she said.

While she could not comment on how many drive-offs involved stolen plates, but said both crimes were a concern within the Maryborough Police district.

“Some of these have been solved, some have been withdrawn — for examples, they’re an honest mistake — and some are still outstanding,” she said.

Snr Const Ryan said while some of the petrol thefts required planning, the number plate crimes were often opportunistic.

“Often they will take the rear license plate because someone has parked nose-in, and it’s more accessible,” she said.

“But drivers might not realise until they get to work or if someone points it out to them, so it’s hard to say when it has actually happened.”

She suggested motorists could use one-way screws to attach their license plates, that would then require a special tool to get them off again.

“It’s a big inconvenience to have them stolen because you have to go to the Department of Transport to get them re-issued,” she said.

“If you’ve got a personalised plate, you won’t be able to get it again until the stolen ones are recovered.”

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