The director of an accident claims firm has been convicted of unlawfully obtaining personal data, after reporting a fake crash to police so he could attempt to buy a personalised number plate.
Miles Savory, from Bristol, took a fancy to the number plate W1 DOW, but was unable to track it down. In a bid to find the owner, he reported the number plate to the DVLA, saying a car with that registration had been involved in a collision.
Under UK law, the details of a car's owner will be released by the DVLA if a person has reasonable cause to request them – for example, if the car has caused property damage.
Stephen Bastow, the owner of a 4x4 with the coveted plate, was contacted two months after the incident was reported with an offer to buy the number plate.
Mr Bastow contacted the DVLA, asking how his personal details had been obtained – saying he had not been involved in an accident, and had never even visited Bristol.
Asaf Khan, prosecuting, said: "The DVLA received a letter from Stephen Bastow, dated March 30, stating he had received a letter from Mr Miles Savory to see if he would sell his private registration plate, W1 DOW.
"Mr Bastow asked how Mr Savory had obtained his home address as his vehicle had not been involved in an accident. On receipt of his letter, [the DVLA found] an application for the details of the vehicle had been made by Mr Savory on behalf of Accident Claims.
"The DVLA made enquiries and discovered the information provided was not correct. The information was passed to the Information Commissioners Office to be investigated."
Savory pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining the data. He was found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act and fined £335, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £364 and a victim surcharge of £33.