Stealthplate was developed in the UK for application to the smooth acrylic number plates used here and with a view to the most common ANPR systems deployed in the UK. However, Stealthplate finds customers all over the world and not only are there are many different number plate and licence plate varieties worldwide, but there are also many different ANPR camera systems employed by all sorts of ‘authorities’. We know you have some questions…
Its difficult to answer all of them definitively – many are ‘what if’ scenarios and we can’t predict the future. However, we’re not bullshitters or liars and if you want to ask us for detail, and don’t mind complicated answers, please contact us.
Here’s an attempt to answer the more common questions you have:
Is it illegal to put Stealthplate over your number/licence plate?
This depends on where you live in the world.
Stealthplate is transparent to the naked eye. Once it’s in place, it is impossible to see that it’s there unless you are right up against it. In the UK, for example, it is illegal to cover your number plate with anything, even if it might be totally transparent. However, we have more than one serving Police Officer amongst our customers and they tell us they would have no idea what they might prosecute a user for. A ‘construction and use’ offence is about all they can think of. Their opinion is that it is not an endorsable offence and it would simply require replacement of the number plate with an official check of the replacement thereafter by an MOT testing station and maybe (but only maybe) a fixed penalty.
We take the view that you should not use Stealthplate on the road because you may contravene local legislation. Use it instead as a technical ‘toy’ and if you apply it to a number/licence plate, do not put it onto a vehicle and use it on public roads. 🙂
Does Stealthplate block the flashing ‘Gatso’ type cameras?
Flashing Gatso cameras have become rare on UK roads. It has been claimed that in at least one case, the bright flash of a Gatso has caused a driver to be distracted and a fatality has resulted. Anyone who has seen them go off in the dark knows that it was a complete bloody idiot who allowed them on the roads in the first place…
Cameras that employ a bright visible flash that you can see WILL NOT be blocked by Stealthplate. That is because these cameras do not use the infrared portion of the spectrum to take a picture, they use ‘ordinary’ light that you and I can see.
Does Stealthplate block the systems used by the mobile speed camera vans?
There are many different ANPR systems on the market. Not all are infrared. Because of the volume of traffic and the number of speeders amongst it, IR and ANPR is most often used to avoid laborious checking and recording of plates by a camera operator. The mobile vans use ANPR, but, of course, they also have an operator in them. If the operator is doing his job, keeping an eye on the traffic and notices your plate hasn’t shown up on the ANPR, yet he has read and noted your registration, you could still get a ticket.
What about the London ULEZ? Does Stealthplate block road tolling and congestion charge cameras?
We do not recommend that you use Stealthplate on the road because it might be illegal in the country you live in. What’s more, if you use it to try to evade road tolling charges, you might actually be breaking laws regarding fraud, so think carefully.
Stealthplate will block the IR road tolling ANPR cameras, but in some cases, the toll systems are accompanied by visible ‘overview’ cameras to monitor traffic movements. These are not used to read your number plate. They are needed to tell what colour a certain vehicle within the traffic stream might be. A sharp eyed camera system operator (if the tolling system has human operators – many don’t) might be able to read your registration from these colour visible cameras.
The situation with the ULEZ is complicated and get a lot of enquiries about it.
The ULEZ is monitored by many different cameras but the Siemens Sicore II is one of the main types on the entrance to the zone. We have not had a Sicore II in for test – they are not cheap and not easily available! However by looking at the publicly available information on this systems specifications, we are pretty sure that we block the ANPR camera in a Sicore II. That is not the whole story though. This is because TfL’s systems are extremely well developed over many, many years of operation and its not just the ANPR check on the entry to the zone which is the sole method to discover whether your vehicle is in the zone. The Sicore II camera:
See how it has two cameras in the one body? One is IR ANPR, which we are as sure as we can be that we block, the other is a colour overview camera, which we don’t block. You go through a Sicore II and the camera can’t read your registration by ANPR, then an alert can go out to human operator in one of TfL’s control rooms. They scroll back the video on the colour camera and they can then ‘manually’ read your registration.
Of course, we do not recommend you use the device on the road!
What will happen if a Policeman sees that his squad car ANPR system isn’t working when he uses it on my plate and he stops me to investigate?
Also see the answer to Question 1 above.
Stealthplate will block the IR ANPR systems in squad cars and that means you could come to the attention of the law. But what happens thereafter is in no way fixed.
ANPR has a “read rate”. It doesn’t manage to read all registrations. Dependent on the installation (the type of system, where and how its installed), this can vary between 90-100%. Its very rarely 100% and the UK Government provide guidelines on what it should be for different installations:
So the squad car ANPR parked on the M1 looking for vehicles, say, without tax, does not pick every registration out. The guidelines reckon 95% for moving vehicles is acceptable (Section 4.1.2 to 4.1.4). That means 5 out of every hundred can be missed. Not that they necessarily are missed. But this illustrates that the ANPR systems deployed on our roads are not catch all’s. The Bobby in the squad car is getting failure to read all the time…
This greatly mitigates the issues around failure to read a vehicle’s registration if its fitted with Stealthplate. In fact, we have serving traffic officers who are customers (!) and they tell me that unless a vehicle is flagged for some other reason (known criminal in it, make, model, colour maybe implicated in a recent crime, this sort of thing), then they would ignore a failure. There’s too many failures for them to go chasing every one.
OK, but that doesn’t mean they won’t stop you.
We do have examples of people being stopped. Nobody that we know of has been prosecuted so far. Now, we’re not legal professionals, but lawyers tell us that the offence is construction and use. Not driving, so not an endorsement. Simply a fixed penalty (it was £60 but that was a few years ago when we got this advice from our legal people) and take your car to an MOT station to have your replacement number plates signed off as OK.
We can’t give you a definitive answer, of course. Depends on the exact situation. Are you a known armed robber? Then you’ll probably get pulled! Are you clean and a fine upstanding citizen? Then you’ll probably get left alone.
How do I tell that Stealthplate does what you say it does? How do I tell that it works?
The only way you can see Stealthplate working is if you have a camera system that mimics the IR ANPR systems out there on the road. How much physics do you remember from school???
What that basically means is that you need to have a silicon ccd camera that has either an infrared narrow band pass filter or a dichroic long wave pass pass filter of appropriate wavelength over the front. They aren’t the sort of thing people have lying around the house, unfortunately, and ordinary cameras do not do the same thing (see Q7).
What you can do is use your TV remote control to demonstrate the effect. Most TV remote controls use IR LEDs and if you hold Stealthplate up in front of your TV remote control it will block the signal and not switch your TV.
I can still see through Stealthplate when I look at it with my smartphone camera. I can still see through Stealthplate when I look at it with my infrared security camera. Why??
General purpose digital cameras (such as those in your smartphone) are fabricated to view a scene in colour in the way the human eye does. Stealthplate cannot block these cameras without blocking the human eye view and it is designed to be as transparent as possible to humans for obvious reasons.
Most cameras that are sold as ‘IR security cameras’ are, in fact, NOT infrared cameras. They are ‘broad spectrum’ cameras that operate in the visible region and the IR at the same time. The ‘security’ aspect of their operation usually comprises an infrared illuminator that switches on in darkness but nothing happens to the camera chip operation itself – it is still viewing in the visible even though light levels are low and that is why it can see through Stealthplate.
What happens when I drive up to an ANPR controlled barrier, like for a car park, and the camera can’t read my plate?
ANPR controlled entry and exit systems, fuel station monitoring systems and the like have to have a ‘default’ algorithm – a method of dealing with a vehicle, the plate of which it cannot read. There are situations where you might have an obscured number plate and not know it. What if you have snow or mud covering your plate? You can’t be sat at a car park entrance with a queue forming behind you and nothing happening. So the barrier goes up and the charging system deals with you in another way. You might sit there for a couple of minutes while the system works out it can’t read your plate, but it won’t stop you getting where you want to go.
What sizes do you make Stealthplate in?
Stealthplate was initially designed for the standard EU sized number plates we use in the UK – 520 x 110mm in size. However, we also stock the following sizes for other countries:
380mm wide x 105mm high
372mm wide x 132mm high
440mm wide x 140mm high
302mm wide x 150mm high – standard size for US plates
Actually we make them a couple of millimetres smaller than these sizes because it aids fitting. We also stock standard UK motorcycle sized Stealthplates at 226 x 176mm.
Choose the size you require from the selection in the shop.
I have a pressed metal licence plates on my car. How do I apply Stealthplate to these?
Stealthplate is self-adhesive and needs a substantial surface area for the adhesive to stick to. Pressed metal plates with raised letters and numbers only present the raised surfaces to adhere to and leave gaps that can fill with dust, dirt and condensation. Most customers who have pressed metal plates use readily available plate covers and stick Stealthplate to those. In the USA, for example, try: http://www.autozone.com/license-plate-and-accessories/license-plate-cover
I have a peculiarly shaped/sized number plate. Can I trim Stealthplate to size or can you make me a custom sized Stealthplate?
We process thin polycarbonate sheet to achieve Stealthplate’s blocking characteristics and then laminate a double sided adhesive onto it so you can stick it to you plate. It is possible to trim Stealthplate using a pair of stout scissors. However, you have to be careful to achieve clean edges to the cuts otherwise rain and road salt can get in and corrode the optically active material.
I have messed up the application of Stealthplate to my number plate. What do I do?
If you have got the Stealthplate badly skew, it is probably ruined. The pressure sensitive acrylic adhesive is very strong because it needs to be. If it isn’t entirely attached, you can probably rip it off your number plate and any remaining adhesive can be cleaned off with white spirit.
Be careful when fitting!
I would like several sets of Stealthplate. Could I have some discount?
We are happy to consider discount for multiple purchases, but usually begin our discount structure at 25 pairs because it’s aimed at re-sellers.
Do you have distributors outside the UK?
We have informal agreements with re-sellers in the USA, Canada, Portugal and South Africa. If you are interested in becoming a re-seller, please contact us.
Why are you regularly out of stock?
This is supposed to be a little hobby to keep us out of the way of the Good Lady as we ease into retirement. Demand has been a bit mad but we have no interest in buying more machinery, employing staff, renting big premises.. Been there, done that. Its time to sit on our fat arses, drink beer and play with motorbikes.
We could control demand by jacking the price. Believe me, we could charge double and people would still buy. But thats not where we come from and that does not help the ordinary man in the street. And these days, the ordinary man in the street is fucked over again and again and again for the pound/dollar/euro in his pocket. We’re not giving anything away, we’re not bloody stupid, but we don’t want to fuck anyone over, so the price remains realistic.
Thank you Daily Telegraph, thank you Mr Jacob Rees Mogg and GB News, but we don’t want that sort of attention because we can’t keep up. Just can’t keep up. So periodically, sorry, but we’re out of stock!
Don't just take our word for it, see what some of our customers had to say:
Ryan, located in Brisbane, Australia
I’ve had some amazing results!
We’ve just had a set of point-to-point speed cameras installed over a 40km stretch of highway. Turns out they are using ANPR to track a vehicle and it’s average speed. After calculating the angles and distance at which the plate is photographed, we then drove along the highway to check out another camera sites. Whilst driving along we noticed that at certain parts of the highway there were overhead billboards which displayed your average speed. To my surprise at no stage did our vehicle register or display an average speed when it was for other vehicles.
David, located in Maryland, USA
This product is effective against speed cameras without a flash. Including those cameras using infra-red technology to take photos based on excessive speed. Not one to speed but a 50.00 ticket for 11mph over the speed limit can become a pain. Great technology. General Dynamics as well as other Defense Department contractors have used on military aircrafts and tanks for years. Wonder why it took so long for someone to finally come out with this product.
Andy, prestige vehicle dealer, located in NYC, USA
Got the covers in. My tech ran some preliminary tests and said it worked well…..The camera we tested with was a Digital Watchdog mdl DWC LPR650 ….. Its been a few weeks since I tested the cover under real road conditions and so far no tickets
Sergey, located in Moscow, Russia
I have checked it…. And can tell you, that it works somehow!!
Eric, located in Avignon, France
I already buy your plates and it works in France
Dan, located in London, UK
I’m very confident that the ANPR camera can’t see me as I go into Gatwick Airport and they can’t see me….
Rob, located in Crewe, UK
Just fitted your product and tested on 2 of the best ANPR cameras in our workshop from 1M away. Amazing product guys. Thanks.