FAQs

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, 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.

Does Stealthplate block road tolling and congestion charge cameras? Does it block the road tolling cameras in Swedish cities like Goteborg and Stockholm?

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 recently introduced city congestion toll charging in Sweden is a case in point. They use a Norwegian company’s cameras (Q-Free) and they have been installed with four cameras per lane – two IR and two visible cameras. Because they also employ a central control office, they have human operators who can chase a number of different cameras and images to manually read registrations that the IR ANPR cannot pick up.

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?

See the answer to Question 1 above.

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. If you contact us, we can probably make a plate to the size you need.

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.

Testimonials

Don't just take our word for it, see what some of our customers had to say: