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Detect the Detector vans

Should you be lucky enough to spot a TV detector van, please undertake the following:

i) take a couple of photographs (keep a camera handy in the glove compartment of the car);
ii) take a note of the van's registration number;
iii) take down the make and model of the van, and any other distinct or identifying features, such as logos;
iv) do NOT engage the driver in conversation; do NOT let the van's tyres down
v) look up the van's registration number on Car Data Checks to make sure that the vehicle's recorded details correspond with what you have seen
vi) email the number plate (and photo if you have one) to me for inclusion on this page at: bbctvlicence AT hotmail DOT com

TV Detector vans spotted to date

Registration GK57TXV

May 2008: seen in Queens Road, Peckham, London. According to Car Data Checks, it is a white Ford Transit 110 diesel van with side windows. Update August 2008: spotted again, in the Coventry area, and photographs taken; see sample below (for more photos and details, visit

TV Detector van GK57 TXV

Update 12 October 2012: GK57TXV seen again, illegally parked, this time in Hendon, Sunderland (thanks, Monu):

Registration GK57TYY

12 June 2012: another in the GK57T range, caught on film in Sunderland and uploaded to Youtube (click here to see); here are two screen shots:

TV Detector van TV Detector van GK57 TYY

Registration GK57TPZ

7 June 2012: seen in Newport . However, Car Data Checks does not comfirm the number plate; more information is needed.

Registration GK57TXW

August 2010: spotted in Charnock Richard services car park, on the M6, Lancashire. Originally reported at BBC Resistance, see more photos here.

TV Detector van GK57 TXW
Note the blue-white paper in the windscreen; this is a disabled badge. The van was parked in the disabled bay. Is the driver, just visible in the photo, genuinely disabled, or was the BBC involved in a fraudulent misuse of the badge?
Update: following an enquiry from a member of the public, TVL/BBC responded:

"A disabled member of staff was operating the detector van in question and the badge in the window is genuine. Please remove from the public domain any inference to the contrary. Yours sincerely, Owen Shirley, Customer Relations, TV Licensing" (September 2010)
So, the driver was disabled. But that does not get TVL/BBC off the hook, since the parking bay is for customers, not the posturing of a TVL/BBC van. The BBC could have deprived a genuine consumer of using the bay.

Registration BC03CRZ

May 2009: seen in North East England. Car Data Checks confirms as a Volkswagen 1200 panel, colour white. No photo.

Registration LL57HLS

May 2008: seen in Barlby, North Yorkshire. No photo, and Car Data Checks is unable to identify this number plate.

Registration Y254CGO

December 2007: another "detector van" caught loitering in a car park. A white Volkswagen 1200 panel van, registered in July 2001. The photo is taken from this thread at BBC Resistance.

Registration LT03TYV

April 2007: at a supermarket car park in the Midlands. It is a white minibus-type vehicle with windows, with 'Detection Unit' on the side. The rear half of the vehicle had drawn curtains. Vehicle details: white Volkswagen 1200 panel van, registered in March 2003, one previous keeper. Update, August 2007: this photograph appeared on the website of the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. The number plate, while blurred, can be seen to begin with L and end with V, so would appear to be van LT03TYV.

Registration Y889BOA

Seen twice in Wigan; first in November 2006, then in April 2007. The locations were a shopping precinct car park, and an out-of-town retail park . There were ten-inch aerials on either side of the van. Car Data Checks shows that this is a white diesel minibus, registered in August 2001. The manufacturer is LDV and the model 400 CONVOY D LWB.

Registration E052VGK

Seen in August 2006 near Skipton, North Yorkshire, at the Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The details from Car Data Checks showed that it was a white Ford Transit minibus, registered in November 2002 with no previous keepers. A photo was taken:

Oct 2007: A reader of this site reports seeing a detector van, a "very shiny half minibus affair" with logos, at an industrial estate on Station Road in Tufnell Park, north London. Although the reader did not get the licence plate, this particular industrial estate includes a company called BT Fleet which performs maintainance and repair on commercial vehicle fleets such as Group 4 Securicor vans, AA breakdown trucks and police cars. It is possible that TVL/BBC vans get their mechanical servicing there. Readers who live near Tufnell Park or any other BT Fleet garage may wish to keep a careful eye on vehicles entering and exiting these locations. For more information on BT Fleet and its garages, visit their website here.

Ten vans to date ...

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