Ford Focus ST Estate: Numberplate problems

  • Plate falls off on potted country lane
  • Traffic cop pulls Dep Ed over, threatens £30 fine
  • Makeshift cardboard plate constructed

I felt helpless. A policeman on a motorcycle had pulled me over. I wasn’t sure why, yet he asked why I thought he had.

Of course, driving a bright yellow Ford Focus ST Estate attracts attention, unwanted or not, but I hadn’t been particularly erratic, fast, rude, slow.

I had spotted the police motorcycle trailing me for a while. His lights were full on and although I was confident that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing, I was also confident, from the way he had been following me, that he would pull me over.

After about five minutes, the blue lights went on, the siren rang out and I moved into a layby safely, immediately getting out of the Focus walking to the rear where the officer had parked his motorcycle.

‘Why do you think I have pulled you over?' the officer asked as he casually removed his helmet.

I didn’t know and I didn’t want to speculate either, so I simply responded that I had no idea.

He said nothing and then glanced down at the rear of the car, gesturing me to follow suit.

The absence of a numberplate was, well, crystal clear, and the clank I had heard earlier when I was negotiating a bend in a country lane allowed me to piece together the sequence of events... and that was that the ruddy numberplate had fallen off.

I enquired as to what would happen next.

‘Well, you are driving illegally and I could give you a £30 fine,’ he responded.

‘Can I drive home?… And are you going to fine me?’

‘Yes, and no,’ he said, ‘but you need to get this sorted. Go to the nearest Ford dealership and get a plate fitted.’

Ordinarily, that would not have been a problem. Under normal circumstances you dig out your V5 document, go to a dealer and get a numberplate made up. Thing is, Ford had the V5, it was the middle of the Christmas holidays and there was no way I could get the V5 document until the new year.

I tried my luck, however, at Sky Ford in Watford, explaining that this was a Ford-owned car, it would be on their computer system and that I did not have the V5. I didn’t get much sympathy from them and they refused me, so I decided that the best way was to put together a makeshift plate with some cardboard, superglue, insulations tape and sellotape. A potato-print plate was fashioned and attached and over the course of the next few days it proved to be a half-decent solution. I didn’t get stopped again.

In the new year, I visited the Ford fleet garage in Brentford and was given a new plate. It was attached more securely this time and I am confident that it should stay firmly in place in future.

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Sellotape was used to waterproof cardboard plate. It did the job

Ford adds extra screws to secure the plate this time. It won't fall off 

Total mileage: 7,164 miles

Average mpg: 28.1mpg