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Claims farmer fined for blagging personalised number plate information from DVLA

Miles Savory, the director of Accident Claims Handlers Ltd, has been convicted of breaching the Data Protection Act 1998 following a prosecution brought by the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’) for unlawfully obtaining the name and address of the owner of personalised number plates that he was seeking to purchase.

Mr Savory completed and sent official forms to the DVLA, referencing a fabricated car accident in Bristol and requesting details of the owner of the car whose number plates were W1 DOW.  Following receipt of the information, Mr Savory wrote to the owner offering to purchase the plates.

The owner, who resides in Yorkshire, made a formal complaint to the DVLA and, following an investigation, police ANPR cameras confirmed that the vehicle had been nowhere near Bristol on the day of the alleged accident.  The owner went further to confirm that he had never been to Bristol.

The DVLA reported the findings of their investigation to the ICO and Mr Savory was charged with breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.  Under this section, it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly obtain, disclose or procure personal data without consent of data controller.  The ICO argued that Mr Savory’s paperwork was deceitful and a clear breach of this provision.

The case was heard before Bristol Magistrates’ Court and, following a guilty plea, Mr Savory was fined £335, ordered to pay costs of £364 and a victim surcharge of £33.  Mr Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, released a statement conveying that ‘unlawfully obtaining people’s personal data is a criminal offence and the ICO will not hesitate to take action through the courts to uphold the law and protect people’s rights’.

A full copy of the ICO's press statement can be found here.

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