Social maker

Gateshead sign maker created questionable car license plates at home after advertising illegal service on Facebook

A law-ignorant Gateshead sign maker started creating questionable car license plates at home after Covid led him to shut down his business.

Anthony Plunkett, 54, closed his manufacturing business, but a fortuitous request from his daughter to make his registration mark created a new business opportunity.

And after his friends asked for his style mark as well, he started to advertise his services more professionally through the social media site Facebook.

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But Plunkett, of Cedars Green, Lyndhurst, was unaware that such work requires official government approval, South Tyneside magistrates said.

His lack of knowledge led to his prosecution and a guilty plea for trading as an unregistered supplier of license plates.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “He owned a sign making business, but because of Covid he closed his business, but kept some of the equipment.

“He proceeded to make a license plate for his daughter and was then requested by some of his friends.

“He advertised on Facebook Marketplace. It was neither licensed nor licensed, and did not perform customer checks on license applicants.

“He was arrested on other matters and investigations into this eventually led the police to Mr. Plunkett’s address.

“There was a search of his property and a number of license plates were found.

“He was interviewed and he confirmed that he started by producing a plaque for his daughter and that it all started from there.”

In court, Plunket defended himself and confirmed that he was now aware of the legalities involved.

He added: “When I was arrested, I didn’t know you had to register with DVLA. I have looked into the matter now, but I did not know.

Magistrates fined Plunkett £ 142, with court costs of £ 85 and a victim fine surcharge of £ 34.

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