A MAN who made thousands of number plates to sell to criminals to use on cars involved in crimes has been jailed for more than three years.

Daniel Day, aged 32, ran the operation from a bedroom at his house in Coronation Road, Tipton, where he had equipment to make the cloned plates which he charged £30 a set for.

West Midlands Police said his role in the criminal underworld came to light during an investigation into a gang who were using stolen cars to commit vehicle crime in the Black Country.

The gang ordered 94 sets of cloned plates from him in one year.

Police traced the cloned plates back to Day, and established how his ‘customers’ would steal cars and get him to make number plates matching the make and model while disguising the true identity of the vehicles. They even included logos of genuine dealerships.

Detectives found one set of plates was requested, produced and attached to a cloned car – within the space of 18 minutes.

A surveillance operation revealed how Day, who was known in the underworld as ‘Skell’, would meet with criminal associates in alleyways and disused car parks, travelling by motorbike and hiding the plates in his jacket.

Day’s number plates were used on vehicles involved in more than 140 crimes including an armed robbery at a post office in Dudley, a shooting in Wolverhampton and multiple car key burglaries and bilkings.

When police swooped on his house in May last year, he tried to flee through the back garden –but ran into officers guided in with help from a drone.

He had in his pocket his ‘business’ phone which he used to make the deals and plate making equipment and software used was found at the property. He was also found to have been using a laptop previously owned by a legitimate number plate making business which closed down.

Blank number plates found at Daniel Day's house.Blank number plates found at Daniel Day's house. (Image: West Midlands Police)

Examination of his phone showed 420 sets of number plates were requested during an eight-week period and it’s believed 7,000 were provided by him in that time.

Day went on to admit perverting the course of justice and possessing criminal property, and was jailed for three years and four months at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday (June 17).

DC Kelly Whyte, from the West Midlands Police Major Crime Proactive Team, said: “This was organised crime on an industrial scale. Day had built a reputation as someone who could supply criminals with number plates to disguise their identities and frustrate police, and he could do it incredibly quickly.

"It was run like a commercial enterprise.

“We estimate he made more than £200,000 from this enterprise and in one week alone he received 67 requests.

“He has helped criminals involved in a whole host of crimes, driving away from petrol stations without paying for fuel up to attempted murder.

“He was so trusted and reliable, that we would often find his details in the phones of criminals he had had helped when we prosecuted them for other crimes.

“Every one of the crimes he helped make happen will have had a victim, and it’s impossible to gauge the full extent on the impact his business had on them.

“His conviction shows our determination to take on organised criminals and put them behind bars to protect the public."

The force said Day’s jailing on Monday was part of its ongoing fight against serious and organised crime in the West Midlands – codenamed Operation Target.