A MOTION that called on West Mercia Police Authority to scrutinise the sale of an historic number plate has been thrown out by county councillors.

The Worcester News has previously reported on the controversial sale of 'AB1' the first vehicle registration number plate issued to the county in 1903.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion agreed to sell the item to former West Mercia Police Chief Constable Paul West for £160,000.

The director of regplates.com, a licence plate dealer, claimed he had a client willing to pay up to £250,000 for the item.

At the last meeting of Worcestershire County Council, Labour group members put forward the motion which stated: "In light of the public uproar regarding the selling off of the famous and most coveted car registration number, at a price experts state to be 50 per cent plus below its market value, this council calls upon West Mercia Police and Crime Panel to scrutinise the process carried out by the commissioner that led to a possible loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds to West Mercia Police Authority."

Councillor Peter McDonald, in proposing the motion, said: "I think we all have read a lot in the press over this, and there certainly is a great number of people who feel strongly.

"The public see this, quite rightly, as the selling off of the crown jewels in a manner that gives the perception of being not quite right.

"It was public property - therefore the person selling the goods should have ensured the best possible price, on open market, in a transparent manner."

But Conservative Councillor Marcus Hart said: "We have had a lengthy discussion on this numberplate - it is amazing a numberplate can generate such a debate.

"We disassociate ourselves with rhetoric and the inference contained within it (the motion).

"This is in reality nothing more than a deliberate attempt by the Labour opposition to smear a former Conservative county councillor, and current police and crime commissioner.

"I spoke to the commissioner directly and he was able to reassure me that the number plate was put up for sale quite properly with an official auctioneer."

He added that the "highest bid" was made directly to the commissioner - to ensure best value for the taxpayer - and something "was only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it".

Councillor Marcus Hart said the motion "lacked seriousness".

When it came to the vote, there was a massive majority against, with only eight Labour member voting in favour.

A spokesman for the commission said: "The full details of the sale are published for anyone to view at any time.

"That has been the case for weeks now and will continue to be the case."

Previously he has stressed the historic numberplate was marketed for more than a month, anyone had been able to bid, and it was sold to the highest bidder.