Hundreds of 'potentially offensive' car number plates withdrawn

Updated: 

Hundreds of number plate combinations that are potentially offensive or in poor taste are banned from being used each year, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has said.

The list of withheld registrations includes combinations which should never be seen on the roads, including any that end with the three letters ARS or DAM and those that are specific to the year.

Among the approximately 300 that will not be released next week when 67 vehicle registrations become available are NO67 FUN, NO67 END, MU67 GED, DO67 ERR, BA67 TRD and ST67 BBD.

In June, the number plate JH11 HAD was spotted in Newport, South Wales, and reported to authorities.

It was subsequently withdrawn, and the DVLA said the plate "slipped through the net".

Information released to BBC Wales following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and seen by the Press Association revealed that other combinations such as JE** HAD and *J11 HAD were also banned.

The Swansea-based agency said in the FOI document that it has a responsibility make sure the combination used on registration numbers "does not cause upset or offence".

The letter continued: "Such numbers are withheld if they are likely to cause offence or embarrassment to the general population in this country on the grounds of political, racial and religious sensitivities or simply because they are in poor taste when displayed correctly on a number plate."

Banned combinations cannot be issued or sold at a DVLA Personalised Registration auction.

The Agency holds and exhaustive list of potentially naughty, nasty and offensive number plates, which it updates annually.

Other combinations included are:

:: Four-letter combinations: *B** UMS, *G** ODS and *R** APE 

:: Five-letter combinations: AB** USE, AN** GER and BO** SOM 

:: 2004 vehicle registrations: A**4 RSE, BO04 ZZY and BL04 JOB

:: 2011 vehicle registrations: BO11 OC*, DR11 GG* and PO11 CE*

A DVLA spokeswoman said: "Many people enjoy displaying a personalised number plate and the vast majority of registration numbers are made available - but we hold back any combinations that may cause offence, embarrassment or are in poor taste.

"We try to identify all combinations that may cause offence, and on the rare occasion where potentially offensive numbers slip through the net, steps are taken to withdraw the number."