As I got in my car to go to work yesterday morning (yes, I managed to squeeze one final day out of it), I noticed that my rear number plate was missing. Hmm. I wandered round and checked the front of the car. That too was missing a number plate. Bugger.
Yes, dirty rotten scoundrels had stolen my number plates in the dead of night, and as the front of the car is up close to the garage, nicking the front plate must have taken some doing. Obviously, this wasn’t the work of pranksters. No, my plates must have been stolen for nefarious activities.
I rang the police and spoke to a very nice lady who said that it’s all the rage now, y’know. Roughly a 1000 sets of number plates are stolen each week, nationally. Thieves will steal your plates, stick ‘em on their own vehicle and then fill up with petrol before doing a runner. They will then make their way to the nearest bank and turn it over, speeding through every traffic camera as they make their getaway.
Before you know it, Old Bill are knocking at your door with a warrant for your arrest, seventeen speeding tickets, a bill from Sainsbury’s for 70 quids worth of petrol and a raft of Congestion Charge fines.
“Do you have CCTV at your home?” she asked, matter-of-factly.
“No. There is a security light on the garage though,” I replied, “that probably helped them see what they were doing.”
She gave me a crime number and warned me that it was illegal for me to drive my car on the road without visible registration plates, before wishing me a good day and assuring me that they would look into it but would probably not get anywhere.
I found some A4 paper and the biggest marker pen I could and made some temporary plates to stick on the windscreen, then I set off for work… an hour late.
On the way home, I called into our local Halfords and purchased some new plates. As it was fecking freezing, I also paid to have them fitted. With anti-tamper screws. Forty six quid, it cost me, in all. Thank you, you tea-leaving bastards: you get a free tank of petrol and I have to pay for the privilege!
The Halfords man easily fitted the rear plate, but struggled with the front, as there were no holes with which to screw into. ”You could drill it”, I suggested, “it’s only plastic”. He shook his head and explained that they weren’t allowed to do anything to the bodywork of the car.
“But, it’s not bodywork”, I said, “it’s just the plastic numberplate holder. Go on, drill it”, I urged. But he was adamant.
“Tell you what”, he said, “take it to the Halfords AutoCentre down the road, explain to them and they’ll do it. They’ve got a proper workshop.”
I took the five-minute drive down to the AutoCentre and explained the situation to a very disinterested man behind the counter – a chap who had obviously never heard of the phrase “Customer Service”. He shrugged his shoulders at me apathetically: “We’re not allowed to drill any part of the bodywork…. not even the plastic bits.”
“But I’ve paid for them to be fitted”, I argued. He shrugged again and suggested I drive back up to the original Halfords and get my money back.
I lost interest and went home.
Looking at my till receipt, I noticed at the top it said “Thank you for your purchase. Visit Halfords.com and fill in our survey to let us know how well we did today.” So, I visited Halfords dot com and I filled in their survey and I bloody well let them know how well they did. Gits.
Today, I have fitted the front number plate, myself.
Using a drill.
It took ten minutes.
It’ll probably fall off tomorrow.