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Plate Addiction

Car owner 'addicted to number plate'

A businessman repeatedly defied the law because of his apparent love for a private number plate spelling out his surname, a court heard yesterday.

In fact Timothy Power, 37, could not seem to drive his silver Ferrari - one of seven cars he owned - without it, it was claimed. Not only was he illegally using the cherished number plate "P9WER" on his 180mph two-seater, but police officers also noticed a string of tax discs on the vehicle which should not have been there, Blackfriars Crown Court, central London, was told.

One of them, it was later discovered, had been stolen from a car in a car park the defendant also used, said Rebecca Harris, prosecuting. Power of Parsons Green, south London, denies four counts of fraudulently using the number plate and three similar charges concerning excise licences between August 1999 and February last year.

Miss Harris said the "particularly impressive Power private number plate" had originally been assigned to a Porsche 911 the defendant and his wife bought four years ago. However, at the time both the vehicle and the plate were registered for insurance purposes to the Matlock Bank, with which Power had a "business partnership".

Although he kept both when he and the bank parted the following year, the car was re-registered shortly afterwards. From that moment, said Miss Harris, the personalised number plate should not have been used on the Porsche or any other vehicle. Despite that it was seen by police in August, 1999, in Aberarth, west Wales, on the Ferrari.

Power, said Miss Harris, explained it belonged to his Mercedes in Ireland and claimed the real tax disc was sitting in his London office. Miss Harris said: "The Crown say that clearly this defendant was perhaps finding it a little difficult to part with such an impressive private number plate, given his name."

The hearing continues.