back to article Bloke ordered to remove offensive numberplate

A Chesterfield telecoms boss has told the DVLA to naff off after the agency accidentally sold him the entertaining numberplate "BO11 LUX", then ordered him to remove it from his car. Alan Clarke, 49, spunked £399 last November down at the agency's website to grab the 'nads-themed plate, and slapped it on his new Range Rover. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Wonder if it will flag every police car he passes that has ANPR installed.

    A few weeks of constantly being stopped will get him so annoyed that he either reverts back to his original plates or that he'll end up suing the DVLA.

    Think I'll sit back and wait for the fireworks !

  2. Big Al

    Got him by the BO11 LUX

    If the number has been withdrawn, then his vehicle is unregistered unless he has a second plate somewhere. So he can be as stubborn as he likes, but can still be nicked for it.

    Whether that means he *must* return the old ones for a refund rather than just keeping them and displaying them behind the windscreen is, I guess, a different matter...

    Not fair, but I can't see him winning this one.

  3. Billa Bong

    Who does this guy think will protect him in a lawsuit?

    The DVLA is responsible for the database of number plates and has always reserved the right to withdraw number plates on certain grounds, whether they were bought at a premium or not. Just because I buy a domain name now doesn't mean I won't have it pulled off me by the registry for some legitimate reason (that I agreed to when I bought it - just as this guy would have implicitly signed up to terms and conditions upon purchase of the plate).

    Basically all the DVLA will do is withdraw the number plate and then every single cop that see's this guy will pull him over for having an unregistered car. I can't see how he can win, but I bet a lot of tax money is going to be wasted sorting it out.

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    So who complained?

    It would be interesting to hear if anyone actually did complain, or whether this is just some civil servant busybody deciding they need to nanny the plate out of existance "for the good of the children". But, if there hasn't been an actual complaint from a member of the public, I'd say let Mr Clarke keep his plate. And if there has been a complaint, I'd stil say let Mr Clarke keep his plate and send the complainer off to have senses of humour and proportion installed.

  5. hplasm Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good for him!

    B011LOX to the DVLA!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happens in the US

    Remember 10-ish years ago when I was in California of a newstory about someone who'd bought a personalized number plate (In Calif you can pay extra to choose your own set of letters/numbers which don't even have to fit the standard form) which was based around his and his wife's initials and was RAPNJAP .... someone saw this and reported it as using a derogatory racial slur ("jap") which was upheld and as a result all Calif license plates with "JAP" as a substring were immediately revoked.

  7. Bumpy Cat

    The DVLA - shoot first and retract later

    They're a useless shower - when I exchanged my foreign license for UK one, it took three attempts. Each time they retracted the license and sent me a new one, and eventually I've ended up with a provisional. Yep, I'm apparently still a learner after driving for 16 years.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not immediately obvious

    As far a trying to make up words from car number plates goes that's a pretty bad effort. I wouldn't have given it a second glance I'd seen it on the streets. No matter how many times I look at it I always see Boil Lux so no wonder he's foaming.

  9. Annihilator

    What a character

    I'm sure he's just a joy to work with, no doubt a comedy genius in the office environment.

    It's a shame that personalised plates have to be unique. B377 END would be an ideal plate applicable to anyone that feels the need to buy such a plate.

  10. Piro

    A great plate..

    .. and a fantastic, British word. We should be proud to say; bollocks!

    1. Is it me?


      Just because you hold a licence from another country does not automatically mean it transfers to the UK. This is not unique to the UK. The validity of an overseas licence is accepted for short term visitors, but not for long term residents, you have to pass a test and gain a full licence, so naturally you will get a provisional licence, and if you are driving unaccompanied on it, you are committing an offence. If you had wanted to move to a full licence, then you should have applied before your overseas licence period expired.

      Why should you be an exception. Pretty much every country in the world operates the same system, your national licence is fine for visiting, but move here and you need one of ours, and you need to prove you can drive to our standard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        For Starters he hasn't said where he is from and secondly it can be exchanged for a UK licence depending on country for long term residents.

      2. Turtle_Fan

        Yeah right....

        First of all if we're talking a licence from any of the EEA or "approved countries", 42 countries in total then no you don't. You can happily get a UK licence without having to prove nothing to anyone.

        Oh, and just because you sound so stuck up, here's a tidbit: UK authorities have accepted that possessing a Zimbabwean, Korean or Hong Kong driver's licence is on a par with UK standards. No questions asked. Just exchange them with a UK one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Genuine Licence?

          Even if the licence comes from one of those approved countries there are times when the DVLA might withdraw a UK licence issued against one. This occurs most commonly when there is doubt over the validity of the licence.

          You send your licence to Swansea and they check it and send out a UK licence pretty quickly. They also send a request to the issuing nation to check the validity of the licence. It can take weeks or months to come back, but if the request comes back negative then the UK licence will be withdrawn, I've heard tell of all sorts of scams from forged licences, to licences that have been withdrawn in the issuing country and of course stolen licences.

          Problems can occur of course when the authorities in the issuing country make mistakes, which is far from unheard of. It could be that the DVLA issued and then withdrew the licence because there was some doubt over the validity of the licence.

          Whe I needed a permit in Malta the DVLA faxed back their response to the query the same day. Some countries are not as helpful. Having said that the fax did have a typo on it so my Maltese ticket had an extra consonant in my surname.

          1. The Indomitable Gall

            Re: Genuine Licence?

            "Whe I needed a permit in Malta the DVLA faxed back their response to the query the same day. Some countries are not as helpful. Having said that the fax did have a typo on it so my Maltese ticket had an extra consonant in my surname."

            Anonymous Choward?

            Anonymous Cowhard?

            Anonymous Cowarde?

            1. mike 32


              'e' is a vowel - Cowharde is NOT a possibility.


      3. Bumpy Cat

        @And ...

        Did you miss the bit where I said three attempts? Because I said it took three attempts.

      4. Burkhard Kloss

        they have standards in blighty?

        ".. and you need to prove you can drive to our standard."

        After twenty years in blighty, I haven't noticed that there are particular driving standards - unless they ban use of the indicator.

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          loads of standards....

          You need to

          a) Not use indicators

          b) Ensure the headlights are pointing at on coming drivers eyes - either through lack of adjustment or non-dipping, it doesn't matter which. You can ensure you have one light up and one down if you like, just to ensure you get sports cars and normal cars

          c) Failure to appreciate the inside lane is not the 'slow lane' but is the lane you should be in, this is best demonstrated by doing 65mph in the outside lane of a motorway or dual carriageway despite miles of empty lane on your left.

          d) Failure to notice or obey the giveway line at the bottom of a slip road, best demonstration is to pull out regardless of the swerving and braking you cause, looking over your shoulder and chuckling at the huge pile up or traffic jam you have caused

          e) Habitual blocking of sideroads and junctions when you are in a traffic jam, if you have to wait why should anyone else get on with their journey

          f) Speed - 30mph is clearly the absolute minimum on housing estates, this is indeed the speed to use when entering your driveway, 70mph is more appropriate for actually driving. When out of town of course the hazards are much greater (pedestrians are soft when you run over them, other cars and lorries are not) so your speed should be reduced - when there is a queue on a motorway 55mph is fine, an A road 35mph is fine and a B road 25mph. On now account should you travel fast enough to prevent frustration and anger behind you when out of town, while in town you should drive at whatever speed you can muster to scare pedestrians and cyclists neither of whom pay road tax so neither have a right to use your tarmac

          g) You should be proficient at sticking two fingers up to anyone who claims their driving is even close to the standard of your God like driving technique.

          h) Parking should be done to maximise your personal use of parking spaces, certainly never park in such a way as other people may be able to use the area. Good parking can use 6 car park spaces for one car, and road sides you should be able to use at least 2, preferably 3.

          i) If you are at any time pleasant, thoughtful or considerate you will immediately have your licence revoked, should you exhibit such extremes as smiling you will also be jailed.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And.... ("Is it me?" total bollocks about foreign licences)

        My partner exchanged her licence for a UK one and I'll assure she didn't need to pass a driving test. Admittedlty this is for an EU country but your posting generalised all foreign countries & has an undertone of nationalist bollocks.

        Given the way the twats drive around the south-east I don't think UK driving skills are something to celebrate. I'm amazed bikers still use the A3/M3/M4/M25.

    2. Shaun 1


      BE11 would work, also

    3. Suburban Inmate

      Could be perfectly innocent

      Could just be someone proud of their hometown.,-2.084613&spn=0.019041,0.038581&sll=52.394982,-2.084484&sspn=0.038077,0.077162&z=15

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. g e

        Bumper stickers


    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Almost Right

      The DVLA actually reserve the right to withdraw a registration mark for any reason they choose. The only condition imposed upon them in a case like this would be that they have to issue a replacement FOC.

      The registration mark is simply a tag that identifies your vehicle, buying a vanity plate does not give you any special rights.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Second Plate

      If the mark has been withdrawn then the DVLA will have issued a replacement. He coudln't have a second plate lying around, only one registration mark can be applied to a vehicle. You can have a registration mark on retention - that is to say you own the mark, but it isn't applied to a vehicle - but if you do you have to apply to have it associated with a vehicle. You can't just whip the plates out and stick them on.

    7. James Micallef Silver badge

      I'm sure the DVLA can win this legally on the small print...

      ...but their justification is absolute BO11LUX.

      A number plate is simply a combination of letters and numbers. If anyone seeing it gets offended, that offence is created only in the 'offended' viewers head. It's their problem not the guy owning the car's

      1. jolly


        ... on that basis I can have a number plate with any words (racist, sexist, etc) and as long as the words have the i's or o's replaced with 1's or 0's I can have whatever plate I like (because the offence taken is all in the offended viewer's head)? OK, whatever.

      2. rcdicky

        This post is complete b0ll0x

        and you know it

        That'd be like swearing at someone or calling them names shouldn't cause offence - They're just a combination of letters someone's decided to sound out - Anyone hearding them and interpreting them as offensive has the issue, not the person saying it... :S

    8. Walking Turtle
      Thumb Up


      ...Where would any of us be today, had no such beautiful thing(s) ever existed? IMVH&Experienced_O, if Ghawd did not have hizzown yarbles conveniently situated under that fine flowing robe 'Way Back Before the Beginning, they surely would have had to have been invented on-the-spot. (3... 2... 1... Cue Big Bang...)

      Sheer necessity. And that is all. 0{;-)o<

  11. Roger Stenning

    Yet another BA11 SUP...

    Unfortunately, he'll lose if it comes to court, as Justice infamously has no sense of humour.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Human rights case ?

    Article <whatever> about enjoyment of property ? Once "sold" by the DVLA it's his - unless taken away by due process.

  13. Jeremy Chappell


    If the number has been withdrawn then it isn't a valid plate... So it IS an offence to display it. Why is that hard for BO11 LUX brain to understand?

  14. dorinlazar


    What's so offensive about that plate number?

    1. ScottAS2

      Corporate rights

      I imagine the lawyers have that one all stitched up in the small print already. "Permanent lease", "remains the property of the DVLA", "can be unilaterally withdrawn at any time", etc. Basically, you're not buying it; just being allowed to use it in limited circumstances.

      So, basically, it works just like a PS3.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Brian Griffiths

        Range Rover driver......

        'nuff said

    3. Ben Bawden
      Thumb Down

      Due process

      Such as the DVLA withdrawing the registration you mean?

    4. durandal

      What property?

      He's merely paid for the right to have a specific registration mark associated with a specific vehicle.

      The best he can hope for is a refund and a generic registration.

      (I imagine he can do what he likes with the physical plates, except use them on the road)

    5. Lamont Cranston


      He might own the physical plate, but it's now displaying an invalid vehicle registration number.

      Crushing his car, would sort this problem out.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Icon says it all

    Drive a Range Rover? I sure PEN 15 is for sale at a very low price

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    BA54ARD does exist and is on the road too...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offended? Who?

    "They said it was causing offence"

    ORLY? So, Mr DVLA, how many people exactly had written or phoned to complain?

    1. Jonathon Green

      Don't bet on it....

      "I sure PEN 15 is for sale at a very low price"

      Not unless Steve Parrish (former motorcycle racer, truck racer, and now commentator) has sold it. - last seen on a BFO Mercedes race transporter truck AFAIR...

      1. Stuart 22

        Pen Spotter

        Spotted on a white Rolls Royce on the North Circ in the early 70s ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          PEN 15

          Was owned by Fiona Richmond in the 70s. It was all a bit scandalous at the time because she was a soft porn model or sex writer or some such.

          1. Martin

            Fiona Richmond...

            ...actually owned the wonderful FU 2

            She may also have owned PEN15, but I suspect you've just got your numberplates mixed.

    2. Jedit

      I'm afraid not

      Many years ago, my mother saw a car with registration PEN 48S and asked who had PEN 1S. She was informed that this plate was not available. A humourless bunch, the DVLA.

      1. Karl H

        but I'm sure PEN 15 was allowed

        as this link seems to suggest :-

        I vaguely remembering hearing some story in the 80s about a famous 1960's actress who had the above plate on an E-type Jag. Dunno how true that was though.

        So the puritans or just unaware officialdom of the 60s let throught the above plate, and I thought we were meant to be more liberal now....


        I hope he keeps his plate :-D

        1. MrT

          It's for sale right now...

          ... PEN 15, spotted in the Registration Transfers Ltd advert on p253 of July '11 Top Gear magazine.

          ANPR would have fun trying to spot the difference between the '15' and any later '1S' version. DVLA try to make sure there's little chance of almost identically-looking plates, which will be why the '1S' version isn't available.


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