Are Stealth Number Plates Legal

Stealth number plates are an alternative number plate option that has come under discussion by road users. Can any vehicle use them? Are they worth it? Are they even legal?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘Are stealth number plates legal?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

What is a stealth number plate?

stealth number plates

A stealth number plate is a plate designed to make it harder for automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems to read the registration. This can be done in a few ways, such as:

  • Infrared blockers: A coating that prevents ANPR cameras using infrared light to capture the plate clearly.
  • Specialised materials: Certain materials may be less reflective or distort the image captured by ANPR cameras.

Why do people hide their number plates?

There is no legally compliant reason that any civilian would hide their number plates. Often, those who intentionally use stealth number plates, or any method to obscure their plate, would do so in order to not be recognised by ANPR on the road.

This would mean that the person in question is intentionally involving the vehicle in a criminal act, whether that be driving recklessly with no consequences, or using the vehicle in criminality.

Is a stealth number plate the same as a show plate?

Not exactly. A stealth plate may usually be readable to the naked eye, but through the lens of speed cameras or ANPR, they are not. A stealth number plate may have all the characters of a legitimate registration plate, but the specialised materials that prevent it from being recognised by ANPR is what makes them illegal.

Show plates are custom number plates that are not for legal use on the road. They can be customised beyond the legal limit, as they are not for use on the road.

The importance of ANPR

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) plays a crucial role in various aspects of our society. For law enforcement, ANPR acts as a powerful tool in crime prevention and detection. It allows for quick identification of stolen vehicles, those linked to suspects, or uninsured vehicles on the road. This can lead to swifter apprehension of criminals and contributes to safer roads.

ANPR can also be invaluable in locating missing persons by scanning plates to identify their vehicles and aid search efforts. Traffic enforcement is another area where ANPR shines. It automates processes like speeding ticket issuance, leading to improved traffic flow and deterring violations.

Beyond law enforcement, ANPR enhances security and access control. In gated communities, workplaces, or parking lots, ANPR systems can streamline access by granting entry only to authorized vehicles. This not only improves security but also allows for faster entry and exit compared to manual checks.

ANPR’s applications extend to toll collection as well. By automating the process on highways and bridges, ANPR reduces congestion and wait times for everyone. Traffic management benefits from ANPR data analysis. This data helps authorities understand traffic patterns, allowing for better infrastructure planning and congestion control strategies.

Overall, ANPR offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency and accuracy. It automates tasks that were previously manual, saving time and manpower. Additionally, ANPR provides highly accurate data compared to human observation, minimising errors. The ability to monitor situations and respond in real-time is another benefit of ANPR technology.

It’s important to acknowledge that the use of ANPR can raise privacy concerns. There are ongoing discussions about striking a balance between the security benefits ANPR offers and the right to individual privacy.

Are stealth number plates legal?

Are stealth number plates legal?

In the UK, stealth number plates, sometimes known as ANPR blockers, are illegal. These plates aim to make it difficult for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to read the registration number.

Here’s why they’re not allowed:

  • Defeating Safety Measures: ANPR is used by police for tracking stolen vehicles, monitoring traffic violations, and even tackling wider criminal activity. Stealth plates hinder these efforts.
  • Reduced Visibility: Some modifications can make the plate difficult for humans to read as well, impacting identification in accidents or other situations.

If you are in the market for a stealth number plate, if the product claims a legal loophole, consult a solicitor or enquire for the latest regulations. Getting caught with a stealth plate can lead to fines and potential trouble with law enforcement, so it is best to avoid any accessory on your vehicle that breaches the highway code or other regulations.

Are stealth number plates the same as a custom number plate?

Not exactly. A legal platemaker does not use any materials on the plate that would make it illegal to drive with, unless it is a show plate. A stealth number plate is made with the sole intention of hiding the plate in certain situations. Whereas a custom plate is a legal customisation that serves no purpose other than personalisation.  

Private number plates can be customised just like a regular number plate, as long as certain requirements are met. The most important requirement being that you visit a legal plate manufacturer. They will ensure that all the correct checks are made, so your plate does not end up being invalid.

As long as you have the relevant documentation, you are able to create a custom version of your private plate, which can include 3D/4D characters etc.

Bespoke Plates makes the hassle of getting yourself a brand-new number plate easy and efficient. This is regardless of whether you’re after a standard replacement number plate, or a gel plate. Here is the process.

By following these steps, you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Buy legal custom plates today

The point of private number plates

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you need in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to have answered the question ‘Are stealth number plates legal?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:


Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

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