Legal puzzle for driver

AN IPSWICH woman claims licensing officials advised her to break the law by removing her road tax disc to prove she was not breaking the law by not having one.

AN IPSWICH woman claims licensing officials advised her to break the law by removing her road tax disc to prove she was not breaking the law by not having one.

Legally the disc must be displayed at all times on public roads and so Jo Willis was reluctant to commit an illegal act.

She said: "They asked me to photocopy my tax disc so I would have to take it out of the car.

"This would mean doing something illegal to prove something legal."

The bizarre problem arose when the Pinewood resident received a notice through her door demanding she pay £25 for having an untaxed vehicle.

If the fine was not paid by March 1, Mrs Willis was told she would be taken to court.

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When the 28-year-old contacted the DVLA to inform them of the error, she was asked to prove that her vehicle was taxed by copying the disc.

Wynne Kennan, a spokesman for the DVLA said: "The Agency needs to be satisfied that relicensing has been effected as claimed. Mrs Willis was therefore given two options when she contacted her Local Office. The first was to complete the reverse of the letter she was sent, which asks for details of the tax disc if the vehicle has been relicensed. The second was to provide a photocopy of the tax disc she had purchased.

"I am sorry if Ms Willis got the wrong impression from the member of staff who dealt with her enquiry. The Agency does not condone the use of keeping a vehicle on the public highway without a valid tax disc on display."

The blunder comes less than two months after the DVLA introduced new rules to combat tax evaders.

From January 1 registered owners of cars have been issued automatic notices if their vehicles are untaxed.

According to Mr Kennan the new system has been effective and he hasn't heard of any problems other than those experienced by Mrs Willis.

He said: "I would like to offer my unreserved apology to Mrs Willis on behalf of the DVLA for the inconvenience and distress caused to her in this matter.

"I can confirm that there is no case against her.

"Following investigation it is clear that the vehicle was licensed at the time of the alleged offence.

"Regrettably, the re-licensing application Mrs Willis submitted to the Post Office had failed to update DVLA's computer record. The vehicle register has now been amended to reflect the correct licensing details of her vehicle."

The DVLA has also agreed to consider whether Mrs Willis can receive compensation for any cost she incurred because of the error.

She added: "You can't compensate all that stress and I am wondering whether to write them a letter about it.

"What annoyed me was there was no box to tick on the form if they had got it wrong. I hadn't planned to have to prove my innocence."

N Have you had a problem with the DVLA? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email or visit the forum at

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