Whatever you go looking for this weekend, please don’t come back home with a personalised reg plate. I know it’s a free country and all that, but really a plate that purportedly spells your name, indicates your hobby or broadcasts your sexual preference is only for vapid, feeble minded exhibitionists.

I had thought that economic meltdown may have wised everyone up to the sheer folly of these silly follys and resulted in them being worth buttons. Not a bit of it.

Channel 4 sent me details of a documentary that is out in early July. Whereas other hacks get first drives, or are contacted by major news organisations for their informed opinion of the industry, I get the lightweight documentaries. They offered me a preview DVD of UR S0 V41N, but I really could not face it and here’s why. Retired satellite communications engineer, Nigel Mills (48), the proud owner of the perfect Nigel number plate, ‘N1GEL’, originally missed out on buying it at auction when it sold for £78,000. Years later, with much deeper pockets he bought ‘N1GEL’ for almost £80,000 in a private deal. It is now estimated to be worth around £100,000. Like Nigel Mills, Nigel Walker (53), the owner of N2GEL, attended the original auction of N1GEL and missed out. A modest accountant from Nottingham, he settled on ‘ N2GEL’, costing around £700. Over 10 years later, N2GEL is now reported to be worth around £50,000. Nigel Blackburn is a gold bullion dealer from Birmingham. He owns six number plates that are deemed to be worth over £200,000 in total. His most prized, exclusive plate is ‘AU1’, the number plate sported by Goldfinger in the James Bond movie. Nigel Blackburn also attended the same auction for N1GEL, but missed out as under bidder. Nigel Dobbie is an intelligence consultant from Gloucester. He picked his plate – BLO3 JOB - with the help of his girlfriend. Shortly after buying it, he received a call from the DVLA withdrawing the sale on the basis that it should have been on their banned list.

After weeks of wrangling, the licence authority finally conceded on the basis that Nigel agreed to take responsibility for ‘any offence caused’ by the plate.

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