Personalised registrations that spell out names make excellent gifts, but buyers are being warned to be careful with the combinations of numbers and letters.
The DVLA is auctioning off a large number of plates from Thursday, some of which have close connections to names. GA12 ETH (Gareth), SA11 EED (Saieed) and WE13 BER (Webber) are among the registrations that are expected to generate plenty of interest.
But although the Ashleys of Britain or families of Ashleys may be interested in the ASH 17Y plate, it can also be viewed in another light. The "1" can be seen as a "I" or an "L" and the number "7" can resemble a "T", making it sound vastly different, bordering on the obscene.
National Numbers Chairman Eric Craggs says people can read into the combination of letters and numbers whatever they want and this can make some registrations look "less innocent" than others.
A similar problem came to light last year when it was thought that the WA11 KER plate would be of interest to people with the name Walker, but its similarity to a rude word meant it had to be withdrawn from an auction.
One of the directors at National Numbers, Susan Craggs, says the DVLA has to authorise and issue all registrations so it is vital that they are not offensive or obscene.
Copyright Press Association 2013