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The AB1 car registration has been sold for a significant six-figure sum, but will remain a part of the local landscape after being bought by a former West Mercia Chief Constable.

Paul West QPM was the last Chief to use the plate on his car. As its new owner, he has now pledged to keep the registration within Worcestershire.

AB1 was the first number plate to ever be issued in Worcestershire and was used by local Chief Constables up until 2011. It was withdrawn from use due to safety concerns, and with no prospect of it ever being used again Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion decided to sell it.

John Campion said: “The local history of AB1 was always secure come what may, but sadly it was clear we were never going to see it in use again.”

“This sale achieves a significant amount of money towards policing our communities and keeping people safe. It also means AB1 retains a good link with West Mercia’s policing family and remains a part of the local landscape”.

Paul West QPM said: “I am well aware of the acute financial pressures being faced by the police service at present, so whilst it’s not a decision that I would have wanted to make, I completely understand why the PCC chose to sell an asset like this, especially when it had been out of use for so long. However, my family and I didn’t want AB1 simply to be lost to somebody with no connection to policing or to Worcestershire and never to be seen again.”

“I do intend to use the number plate on a car and am committed to keeping AB1 in Worcestershire during my lifetime. I’d also like to make sure that its story remains accessible to local communities. I am planning to work with several former colleagues who had an even longer association with AB1 than I, to create some historic displays about the number plate’s unique history, which we intend to offer to local museums and libraries in Worcestershire.”