A town with a Neighbourhood Watch volunteer in every street has recruited garages in the area to fit security screws to vehicle number plates for free.
From today, 16 garages in Melton and neighbouring Asfordby will fit the tamper-proof screws in a bid to stop the plates being stolen and used on other vehicles to commit crime.
It follows a spate of number plate thefts in the town earlier this year.
Vehicles they are subsequently fitted to are used by criminals to drive away from petrol stations without paying for fuel, to avoid paying the London congestion charge, as well as in serious crime.
The £6,000 to fund the scheme has come from Leicestershire Police via local police commander, Inspector John Gray and the Safer Melton Partnership.
Eric Tindall, co-ordinator of Melton Neighbourhood Watch – staking the claim as the country's first Neighbourhood Watch town – said: "If you go to any garage in Melton, they will fit the screws for free.
"The 16 garages in and around Melton have been supplied with the screws and will either fit them for free if you turn up or when they're doing work on your car.
"Similar smaller schemes are being implemented elsewhere, but this is the most comprehensive, with virtually every garage in the town offering to fit the screws for free.
"People used to come to the police station to collect them but now garages, from those with a couple of people working in them to the national chains are in the scheme.
"With greater use by the police of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras criminals are aware they can be picked up. They will often take a number plate from a vehicle similar to the one they're using."
Mr Tindall said the scheme was ongoing and "hopefully, if we can run the scheme for about three years, it will enable us to get everybody's vehicle done".
He said: We also urge car manufacturers to think about fitting them in future because it only costs about £1 a car".
Chris Triggs, a partner of L&H Exhausts, in Charlotte Street, Melton, said: "We're happy to do it free of charge for people who come in.
"It only takes a couple of minutes to do and we're happy to help people out."
The garages are Asfordby Garage, 140 Main Street and, in Melton, Astons Vauxhall, Beler Way; Autostyle services, 44 Pate Road; BCI, Jubilee Street; Browning Suzuki, Norman Way; Dynamic Motor Co, North Street; Graham Skinner, Mill Lane; Kwik Fit, Park Road; L&H Exhausts, Charlotte Street; MARC, North Street; Melton MOT Centre, Kings Road; Sandicliffe, Leicester Road; Tanvic, Snow Hill; Ufton Automotive, Snow Hill; Wilsons Garage, Regent Street and Witham Garage, Beler Way.