DVLA number plates have hidden meanings with drivers able to find out details

Car registration: How to prevent number plate theft

Drivers may not be aware that number plates are not just a mix of random numbers and letters but a carefully coordinated set of details.

According to the AA, drivers can identify where a vehicle was first registered and how old it is just by looking at the DVLA registration plate.

This can be done by looking at the local memory tag at the front, followed by the two-digit age identifier in the middle.

The current format for vehicle registrations came into effect from 2001 meaning this only works on models built in the last 22 years.

Express.co.uk breaks down each section of the number plate to reveal what can really be learned.

READ MORE DVLA lists banned number plates ahead of major changes next week

Local memory tag

AA experts explain the first two letters on a reg plate show where the vehicle was registered. The first letter represents the region while the second is a local DVLA office.

Richmond Motor Group has listed which letters represent which part of the country with 19 regions up for grabs. A stands for Anglia and any models registered in Peterborough, Norwich and Ipswich.

B is Birmingham, while C represents Cymru and any vehicles from Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor. F is the Forest and Fens (Nottingham and Lincoln) while G stands for Garden of England (Maidstone, Brighton).

Although H represents Hampshire and Dorset, a ‘HW’ plate is used exclusively for models registered on the Isle of White. M stands for Manchester and Merseyside but any model beginning with ‘MN’ were first registered on the Isle of Man.

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Age identifier

The AA explains the two numbers in the middle of the plate reveal how old a vehicle is. This is done in six-month increments so road users know exactly when their model, or one they are looking to buy, first hit the road.

The lower numbers represent cars registered between March and August while the bigger numbers are from September to February. The new format began with the ‘51’ reg back in 2001, while ‘02’ was first used in March 2002.

This format has continued ever since with the ‘23’ plates last released on March 1 earlier this year. The new ‘73’ designs will be used from new vehicles registered after September 1.

The system is expected to continue in this current format until it rolls back around to 50/00 in the year 2050/51.

Unique letters

The rest of the numbers and letters are different for each vehicle and gives the car its own identity. This can be personalised by road users to create their own unique design based on their name or their hobbies.

Personalised plates start from just £130 online but popular designs can go for thousands of pounds.

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