- West Mercia commissioner John Campion accepted £160,000 offer for AB1 plate
- It was sold to Paul West, who was in charge of the force from 2003 to 2011
- But it has emerged that the registration could be worth more than £500,000
- From 1904 the plate was used on the vehicle of the force’s chief constable
A police boss has been accused of short-changing his force after selling off a rare £500,000 numberplate for less than half of its market value to the former chief constable.
West Mercia commissioner John Campion accepted an offer of just £160,000 for the AB1 registration after putting it up for sale to raise funds for the cash-strapped constabulary.
From 1904 it was used on the vehicle of the force’s chief constable until it was removed six years ago for security reasons.
The plate was sold to Paul West, who was in charge of West Mercia from 2003 to 2011, after he made a private bid.
West Mercia commissioner John Campion accepted an offer of just £160,000 for the AB1 registration, pictured
He leapfrogged the dealer – which had listed the plate at a guide price of £175,000 – by going directly to Mr Campion with his cut-price offer.
But it has now emerged that the exclusive registration could be worth more than £500,000 – with its value set to rise to as much as £700,000 in the coming years.
Alan Hebbs, who works for number plate dealer Mark Hunt, told the Telegraph: ‘The AB1 plate is as rare as you can get and it is like owning a piece of fine art or a valuable antique.
‘The AG1 plate is on sale at the moment for £500,000; that is arguably not as desirable as this one.
‘It will only increase in value and in a couple of years it could be worth as much as £700,000.’
West Mercia commissioner John Campion, pictured left, sold the plate to Paul West, pictured right, who was in charge of the force from 2003 to 2011
But Mr West has insisted that he purchased the historic plate to keep it close to the force while refusing to admit the exact figure he paid.
It has sparked fury from locals with Worcestershire County Council’s Labour leader Peter McDonald saying the police service could have missed out on hundreds of thousands of pounds of potential revenue.