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Leamington driver charged after officer discovers paper licence plate

Essex County OPP say a driver was charged after an officer conducted a traffic stop and found the vehicle was driving with paper licence plates (Submitted by Essex County OPP - image credit)
Essex County OPP say a driver was charged after an officer conducted a traffic stop and found the vehicle was driving with paper licence plates (Submitted by Essex County OPP - image credit)

A Leamington driver has been charged after a vehicle with a paper copy of a licence plate was found on the road, Ontario Provincial Police say.

Essex County OPP say an officer on patrol on Jan. 22 ran a check on a vehicle plate and discovered it was invalid.

When conducting a traffic stop, the officer found the licence plates were paper.

A 45-year-old was charged with driving under suspension, using a plate not authorized for the vehicle and operating an unsafe vehicle.

The vehicle was towed from the scene, police say.

A CBC investigation found Highway 407 in Toronto has had a rising number of reports of false charges related to lost, stolen or duplicated licence plates.

Last year, 500 accounts per month were investigated, up from about half that in 2019.

"We have seen some very well-disguised fake licence plates out there that wouldn't catch the eye of an officer," said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, with OPP's highway safety division. "You wouldn't know until the driver of the vehicle was stopped for some sort of violation."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Highway 407 ETR said they're aware of cases where "an individual's licence plate number has been stolen or illegally duplicated," and in those cases, the company will work with customers to identify illegitimate trips and reverse the charges.

According to OPP, it's legal to buy, sell and possess  "novelty" licence plates — it's only a problem when they're used on the road.