• The aim of CNPS is to spot every number on the conventional old-style UK number plate, in order, from 1 to 999.

  • It is very important to realise that you have to spot the exact digit you are looking for. If you see the car Y11RTS, you can not count that as a 1. It is an 11. If you see the number 223 that can't be counted as a 23 or a 22. If you see the number 234 you can't call it an anagram of 342. Only the exact number you are looking for is acceptable.

  • You can only progress to looking for a number 2, when you have spotted a number 1 and so on. You can not hold the 2 in your memory and then when you've seen a 1, say "ah yes, and I saw a 2 yesterday, so now I'll look for a 3." NO! It is called CONSECUTIVE number-plate spotting. If you want to play the easy game of spotting all the number plates in any order then that is up to you (and I feel sorry for you). It must run, 1,2,3.... And so on, right up to 999. There are no exceptions. Even if you saw the next number just a second before. You have to clearly see the numbers in order.

  • You cannot have two or three chains of CNPs running at a time. That is, you can't be looking for 5 onwards, as well as 45 onwards in the hope of eventually joining the chains up. Each individual number must be seen in its own right, consecutively.

  • It can be frustrating when you keep seeing the number after the one you're looking for, or when after days of looking for a 4 and finally spotting one you see 10 more in the next 24 hours. Do not allow this frustration to allow you to cheat or think that you can count any number which isn't the one you are looking for.

  • You must be sure that you have had a definite spot of the number. A car travelling quickly in the opposite direction may have looked like a 6. But can you be sure it wasn't a 16? Or a 66? Or even a 5? You must have clear sight of the number and be able to confirm without ANY DOUBT that you have spotted the number you want. Your mind will be so keen to see the next number (especially after hours and hours of failing to do so) that it is easy to be tricked into thinking you might have seen the number. If you collect any number in this way then your achievement is null and void. Think of the shame at the back of your mind when you get to 999, if you are not sure the 123 you saw was genuine. You will only be cheating yourself.

  • Be aware that some number plates are spaced in a confusing way by irresponsible car owners. Please ensure you are not excluding a digit that is on the number plate or confusing a letter for a number.
    I have seen D1
    That is a 14. Not a 1 or a 4

  • Knowing that a number you need is in a particular location is not enough. You actually have to go and look at the number plate for it to be counted. That is why the came is called Consecutive number plate SPOTTING.

  • Only numbers on number plates can be included in this game. That is why it is called Consecutive NUMBER PLATE spotting.

  • The number plate you see MUST be attached to a motor vehicle of some kind. A number plate lying in the road on its own is not acceptable. To allow number plates to be spotted on their own might encourage unscrupulous players to remove number plates from vehicles and store them for later use (or indeed to pay to have them made up at a shop). Also if you were to spot a number plate on the floor you could pick it up and store it for later. For this reason vehicle and number plate are both required. A number plate attached to a caravan or trailer is acceptable.

  • Only UK number plates are acceptable in this version of the game. No use of numbers on foreign plates can be countenanced. Anyone found to have included a foreign number plate number will forfeit their life. If you commit this crime, please turn yourself in to the nearest police station and explain what you have done.

  • No Desmond, diplomatic number plates are not allowed and if you see a number plate with more than three digits then you can not divide those numbers up (even if they are separated by a letter) eg 123T456 is not a 123 and a 456. Nor can you pick and choose numbers as you wish.

  • Those red trade number plates used on cars that have not been licensed and by people delivering cars across the country are not acceptable. Only licensed number plates.

  • Extreme CNPS players may choose to also ignore obviously personalised number plates TIM 1 for example, or indeed the new style number plates which are at present a good source of 2's and 51s and 52s. In the current climate where old style number plates are slowly dying out, this may be a rule too far. For all but the most obsessed player, personalised and new style number plates are acceptable (make sure it is not a foreign plate though)
    To clarify the new style 02 on a number plate can be counted as a 2. However some new number plates also include the letter "O". Do not be tempted to use these "O"s to turn an 02 into a 200.

  • You can not include number plates that you have seen in photographs or on TV. Clearly you could just store or tape the number and look at it again at the appropriate time. Only real, three-dimensional number plates can be counted. Similarly your friend can not text you a picture of a number plate that they have just seen. However they can ring you and tell you where the vehicle is and you can, if you so choose, go to see it.

  • As A CNP Spotter you must abide by the CNPS code

    "I promise to do my best at spotting numbers consecutively, to do my duty no matter how boring and to never, ever cheat in the game or lie about where I've got up to, because I will only be cheating myself in the end."

    Say it out loud before you start and at any point when you feel you are tempted to cheat or stop playing because the game is rubbish.

  • Remember on average you should be seeing the number you need approximately once every 1000 cars. If you are getting through numbers significantly more quickly than this you are probably not playing the game correctly. Go back and read the rules again and then remember the name of the game is CONSECUTIVE NUMBER PLATE SPOTTING. It's not that hard.

  • When you have spotted all the numbers from 1-999 you can stop playing. Please e mail me if you achieve this feat. Also let me know about the most CNPs you have spotted in 24 hours. Make a note of how long it has taken you.


  • This game is very long and practically impossible to complete. In order to give yourself a fighting chance it is worth familiarising yourself with number plates of cars that are regularly parked in and around your road. Especially if the numbers are within the next twenty or so that you are looking for. Then when your reach that number you can conveniently go and spot it. You can often clear 3 or 4 numbers on a good day if you are well prepared.

  • Looking for cars on foot is a more efficient way than playing this game in a car. You can be sure of your spots and you can also run back to previous cars if they will help complete your sequence. Playing on a motorway is not as productive as it may appear, because it is hard to be certain of the number plates on the cars on the other side as they go past so fast. You will actually not see that many cars on your own side of the road.

  • Be aware that some businesses have bought several vehicles at the same time, and consequently have consecutive number plates on these vehicles. Haulage companies at their base and pizza delivery motor-bikes parked outside a shop might provide you with unexpected riches.

  • Please do not play this game whilst driving. Be on the look out for pedestrians and other obstacles. CNPS is a game of boredom and tedium. No-one should die because of CNPS and if they do it should only be through frustration.

  • Car parks provide a large number of cars, all parked, in way that makes them easy to return to. A dedicated CNPS will spend his or her weekends and all his or her spare time in their local multi-storey. In such circumstance and with a big enough carpark one would imagine it might even be possible to spot every number (consecutively) in a day. Personally I think this spoils the beauty of the game and would not go to such lengths. But to any CNP spotter the car park is a wonderful source of numbers.

  • Make sure you make a note of which number you are up to. Sometimes it is easy to get confused or forget or become bored.

  • Be aware that any 1 in a number can be easily missed or ignored. You must make sure that you have definitely spotted the number you require and that there isn't an un-needed 1 in front or after it. 111 can look like 11. 21 can look like a 2 etc. Do not accept any number that you have any doubt about.

  • Be aware that once you take up the call to be a CNP spotter you have to see it through to its bitter end. You can't start up the game, decide it's rubbish and impossible and then stop. By agreeing to start you have signed a contract that you will do all in your power to complete the task, even if it takes 5 or 10 years.

  • You can compete against me. My CNPS score is on my home page. I have had a small head start, but I am going to Melbourne for over a month so that should even things out.

  • Good luck and happy spotting.

    Maybe you'd like to set up a CNPS club, with a membership card and I don't know a T-shirt or something. Maybe you could even organise club outings to car parks or second hand car dealerships and meet other people who like collecting car number plate consecutively. I won't be coming on those though, because all the people on them will be strange. If you have any questions about the rules or need clarification on any point, then please e mail me.