Monday, 31 March 2008 12:00 AM
UK drivers are being put at risk by cheap, foreign-registered vehicles, according to car buying experts Parker's.
Any car that stays in the UK for more than six months is legally required to be re-registered with the DVLA, but Parker's claims to have evidence this is clearly not happening. They believe a black market of foreign-registered vehicles - typically from Poland, Bulgaria and France - is growing exponentially.
As the government currently has no record of how many cars are illegally being driven with foreign plates, the exact number of cars is incalculable. These particular models are often a lot cheaper than equivalent UK models, making them sorely tempting for buyers on a budget.
Kieren Puffet, editor of Parker's, said: "The government has trouble putting a figure on how many immigrants there are in the UK, so it's hardly surprising it can't tell us how many illegal foreign cars there are here. The government needs to take action now to start recording details as cars enter the country and get offending cars off our roads.
"Many owners of these cars will be thinking 'What's the point of registering a car with the DVLA?', when there's little chance that they will be caught out. Anyone stopped by the police can claim that the car has been in the UK for less than six months - there's no evidence to prove otherwise. These cars should be seized and taken off our streets."
Parker's has simple advice for those considering buying a car registered to another country. Don't bother. The risk of prosecution, it claims, far outweighs the small, short-term gains.