A mum was hit with a £350 fine after picking up an offensive number plate to make people smile.
A 47-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, displayed the words “SLUT HO” on her car as her way of “having a giggle” and believes 95 per cent of the population would not be offended by it.
The idea came about after the mum saw a wedding car with a plate featuring the word “TART” and she began trying different combinations of letters on the DVLA website.
“When I saw the SLUT HO one, it was one of those things I had to have,” she told Wales Online.
She splashed out £487 on the SL11 THO plates on top of an £80 registration fee and £20 for a mechanic to fix an extra screw in the middle of the “11” to give the appearance of a “U”.
The mum, from Blaenau Gwent, Wales, recalls the workers seeing the funny side of the plate when she made the request.
But the court thought otherwise and she was ordered to pay £344 after her white Volkswagen Scirocco was spotted by police.
Despite the penalty, she said the reaction from other drivers has been “amazing”
She said: “I’ve had it since around last Christmas. Everyone has been smiling and beeping at me.
“My kids wave out the window. I’ll be driving along and people will go ‘I love your number plate.’
“One woman said her daughter can’t wait to see it on the school run each day.”
The 47-year-old was driving near Cardiff when she was stopped by a police officer in March.
“It is quite a scary thing,” she said.
“He asked if I knew why he pulled me over and I was like ‘I have no idea.’
“The plate was normal to me at that point. I’m at the side of the road panicking because I’ve never been in trouble before. I pay my bills and do as I’m told.
“He gave me a screwdriver and made me undo the screws at the front and back, which was hard to do.
“It was grown men who put the screws in, not me. I was struggling and crying. I said to the officer ‘can you help me?’ and he was like ‘no’.
“I’m on my bum, my feet are under the car, I’m staring at his big black boots next to me. I’m crying my eyes out. He waited there for 40 minutes for me to finish.”
She said she immediately notified the DVLA and her car insurance company of what had happened.
But after moving house soon after the incident, she claims a letter from Cardiff Magistrates’ Court was sent to her old address.
Last month, she was found guilty of breaching vehicle regulations with the message which the officer described in his report as “offensive.”
The mum was sentenced to a £220 fine, £34 victim services surcharge and £90 in prosecution costs but said she only found this out via media coverage.
The businesswoman, who ran a nail salon which closed down due to the pandemic, complained to the court that she had not known about the hearing and understands a new one is scheduled to take place by November.
“I am going to hold my hands up and say I did buy the plate but I want to have my voice heard,” she said.
“I have a right to go to court and that right was taken from me.”
She said people still comment on her plate, despite the screws being removed, but that “the only ones offended by it were the police.”
The mum opened up about how she realised life is short after her “amazing” son who took his own life.
She said: “Through his death I have learned to live and I have learned to smile and giggle.”
Her son died in 2019 at the age of 21, weeks after the deaths of two of his friends.
The “brilliant dad” hung himself minutes after playing and dancing with his six-month-old son, his inquest heard.
The mum said: “He was just an average 21-year-old, working as a builder and doing well. He liked being out and being with people.
“A lot of builders feel they have to act hard and be masculine. That’s where it’s all wrong. Men are allowed to cry.”
The full-time mum, who has twin sons aged 13 and a 16-year-old daughter, still feels “raw” from losing her son but shared what it has taught her.
She said: “It’s taught my family so much, to be strong, to live life, to smile and say hello to people, to spread cheer, and that’s why I bought the plate.
“It brought me joy every time I walked out the the front door. Life is short and I’m not going to die unhappy.”
Since her son’s death she has done a series of charity walks on routes such as Pen y Fan to raise money for men’s mental health causes.
“Men don’t talk,” she said.
“I want to spread the message that it’s okay to feel like c**p but people are here for you. When you’re down, come to us and we’ll be there for you.”