The war on motorists has seen I stark increase in "car cloning" as drivers try to evade fines imposed on them by councils and local authorities.
Research performed by Honest John has uncovered evidence that "car cloning" in London alone has risen by an incredible 50%.
The research showed that the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued for entering the Congestion Zone without paying increased by 50 per cent in 2017. The website, which specialises in motoring, analysed TfL figures for Congestion Charge zone fines and found that 1,652 cases had been cancelled last year due to the offending vehicle being a clone of another motorist's vehicle.
The Daily Mail reported that vehicles which have been fitted with duplicate or cloned plates are also being used to evade tge Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) system.
Cloned vehicles create a huge problem for innocent motorists as the onus is then placed on the legitimate owner that they have in fact committed no offence, in effect the driver is considered guilty unless proven innocent.
It is believed that the figure quoted is just the tip of what may be an enormous iceberg. Cloning has been a problem for decades, however the increase in numbers cannot simply be attributed to "traditional" criminal activity.
There is a groundswell of discord amongst drivers who have had enough of what is seen as punitive punishments for minor, and in some cases non-existant driving infractions. This in turn may be leading drivers to take action to prevent being unfairly penalised.
The taxi industry has been warning the authorities for a number of years that this problem is becoming more and more widespread, but falling of seemingly deaf ears.
One of the biggest problems facing motorists when encountering cloned vehicles is the lack of accountability when involved in collisions. Cloning leaves an offending driver virtually untraceable.
Advice being given when discovering a vehicle is cloned is to gather as much evidence as possible, as well as CCTV and GPS tracking evidence where possible, so as to prove that the offending vehicles details were duplicated.