A Gateshead sign-maker began creating car number plates at home after Covid led him to close his business.
Anthony Plunkett, shut up his manufacturing firm but a chance request from his daughter to make her registration mark created a new enterprise opportunity.
And after her pals also requested his brand of styling, he began to advertise his services more professionally via social media site Facebook. But Plunkett, of Lyndhurst, was said he unaware such work requires official government approval, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.
His lack of knowledge led to his prosecution and a guilty plea to trading as an unregistered supplier of registration plates. Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “He used to own a sign manufacturing business but due to Covid, he closed his business but kept some of the equipment.
“He proceeded to make a registration plate for his daughter and was then asked by some of her friends.
“He advertised on Facebook Marketplace. He was not registered or authorised and didn’t carry out customer checks on those asking for plates.
“He was arrested on other matters and inquiries into this ultimately led police to Mr Plunkett’s address.
“There was a search of his property and a number of registration plates were found.
“He was interviewed, and he confirmed he had begun by producing a plate for his daughter and it had moved on from there.”
In court, Plunket defended himself and confirmed he was now aware of the legalities involved.
He added: “When I was arrested, I didn’t know you had to register with the DVLA. I’ve looked into it now, but I didn’t know.”
Magistrates fined Plunkett £142, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.