POLICE have reported a sharp rise in the number of duplicate and fake car licence plates being used on the roads.
The interior ministry figures point to a 73% rise in the number of reported cases in 2012, with 17,479 driving offences committed using cars with another vehicle's number plate.
The number of cases has risen from 5,079 in 2010. It means speeding and parking fines are sent to the vehicle's owner for driving offences they did not commit.
A ministry spokesman said: "The phenomenon is on the rise - but there have also been more roadside checks by officers to combat this crime."
Using fake number plates is punished with up to seven years in prison and a maximum €30,000 fine.
Victims of this form of identity fraud are encouraged to register the crime at their police station at the first opportunity and to get their carte grise - vehicle registration documents - changed free of charge at the local préfecture.