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Racers use ‘stealth number plates’ to avoid detection

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YOUNG drivers are buying ‘stealth number plates’ online to avoid detection while using the Island’s roads as a racetrack, it has been revealed.​

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The special plates are covered in a reflective film that cannot be seen during the day, but make it almost impossible to read the J-number at night.

Some motorbike riders are also tilting their plates upwards so they cannot be detected by speed cameras or captured on other motorists’ dash-cams.

Others, meanwhile, are smashing their registration plate lights so the numbers cannot be read when it is dark.

The States police, in conjunction with honorary offices and DVS, have now launched Operation Canvas to crackdown on speeding drivers, as well as those who make illegal modifications to their cars, including to their exhausts, suspension and registration plates.

Inspector Paul Ryan, the States police’s lead for roads policing, said: ‘The number of complaints has increased significantly during the lockdown period.

‘We have received complaints about the noise coming from the exhausts, as well as speed and people just generally taking advantage of the quieter roads. The UK have had similar issues.’

He added: ‘We have received information that some people are modifying their cars to frustrate the police in their attempts to identify them.

‘This includes using a reflective number plate. It looks normal during the day, but if you are behind them at night and a light is shining on it you can’t see the number.’

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Islanders of all age groups have been reported for speeding during the recent weeks, but Insp Ryan said that those who were believed to be using illegal number plates were generally ‘young drivers who make modifications to their cars, such as loud exhausts’.

Following the launch of Operation Canvas the police have so far caught two motorcycle riders with their number plates tilted upwards.

Insp Ryan also said that groups were sending out ‘feeder vehicles’ to check whether the police were carrying out checks on a particular road and sharing the information on social media.

It is understood that the roads most used by young speeding drivers are along the east and north coast, as well as in the L’Etacq and Les Landes area.

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The States and honorary police are now carrying out increased checks at hotspots and other areas in an attempt to discourage speeding.

Insp Ryan said the force would also be more likely to pursue prosecutions, rather than issue defect notices, if a car had been modified to the point where it was no longer legal.

‘The message from us is very clear – it is not safe to use our Island roads as a race track. We will be stopping vehicles and if you are caught speeding we will be taking a robust approach to prosecution, and if the vehicle is defective it will be impounded.’

Last Thursday officers arrested another driver for speeding and failing to stop. In a tweet on Friday the force said: ‘#OpCanvas targets #antisocialdrivers who speed & modify their cars to evade police. Jersey isn’t a race track & we’re committed to keeping our roads safe for everyone. One arrest last night for speeding & failing to stop. Car impounded for illegal modifications.’

Islanders can send dash-cam footage to the States police by visiting jersey.police.uk, clicking on the ‘report something’ section and following the relevant links.

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
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