Bank Robbers Caught... by their personalised number plate!
Two criminals who planned a bank robbery that was described as "professional and sophisticated" in court were brought to justice because they used a car with a personalised number plate.
Having planned a late night ambush on security guards delivering cash to an ATM in Cardiff, Wales, two brothers in cahoots with local crime figures from Manchester threatened staff and smashed glass to hightail it with over £100,000 in used bank notes.
Despite having planned and executed their plan brilliantly, they committed an enormous oversight by using their own car as a getaway vehicle. Not only was the car a distinctive and powerful model of BMW, the registration number was a 'personalised' one - making it child's play for the police to identify its owner.
In the UK, number plates are issued by the DVLA under a strict system of random allocation. However, the conventions used in the number plates throw up series of numbers and letters that match people's names or initials etc. These number plates are then auctioned by the DVLA and other agents.
Because such number plates are uncommon in the UK, they are very noticeable - and in this case, the robbers were using a highly memorable number plate reading J4MES. At auction, such a plate would sell for many thousands of pounds. As if that wasn't means enough, every number plate sold in this way is registered to an individual rather than to a specific car.
It was thanks to this memorable plate that passers-by and witnesses to the robbery were able to remember the car, leading the police to identify half the gang within days. Way to go, Geniuses!