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DVLA withdraws 'homophobic' number-plates from auction...

The number-plates F4 GOT and D1 KES have been withdrawn from auction by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), after complaints that they were homophobic.

The controversial plates were among hundreds due to go under the hammer at a sale in Worcestershire this week, with reserve prices of £900 each.

But they have been taken off the market following complaints from Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, that the lettering could be considered offensive.

Campaigners were particularly upset that a government body would have profited from the sale of the plates.

The DVLA, which is responsible for registering cars and drivers and collecting vehicle taxation, has raised more than £1.3 billion over the past 20 years from personalised number-plates, which can be bought direct from the agency or through resellers.

"It is regrettable that personalised number-plates that could clearly cause offence were made available," a Stonewall spokesman told the Mail on Sunday.

"All publicly funded bodies should act appropriately when approving language that is potentially offensive to any community."
The DVLA already bans number-plates considered racist or provocative, as well as those which contain sensitive combinations of letters and numbers.

A DVLA spokesman said: "We have a responsibility to ensure that the combinations used on registration marks do not cause general upset or offence.

"Having reviewed the appropriateness of the registration marks F4 GOT and D1 KES, we have withdrawn these marks on the grounds of the clear potential offence they may cause."

The auction at the Dormy House Hotel in Broadway, Worcestershire this week will still include the plates N4 KED and NUD 9E.