FOR some people they are a complete waste of money, for others a fun way to personalise your car.

Personalised number plates have always been divisive but are currently proving more popular than ever according to figures released by the DVLA.

Private number plate traders Plates4less have been granted access to the DVLA's previously unissued registrations.

The DVLA holds auctions of these number plates several times throughout the year.

In 1989 the first auction had 74 registrations offered, with the numberplate 1 A fetching £160,000.

So far the most expensive ever sold was 25 O in 2014 which sold for a whopping £400,000.

This July's most recent DVLA auction saw 1,250 lots available to the public.

In 1989, the first year personalised number plates became available, just 781 were sold but the trend quickly caught on and 26,161 were bought the following year.

Skip to 2018/19 and people bought more than 400,000 of them, and in total since that first auction 30 years ago, people have bought more than six million personal registrations.

The 12 most expensive private number plates in the UK have been:

1) 25 O, £400,000, November 2014

2) 1 D, £285,000, March 2009

3) 51 NGH £201,000, April 2006

4) 1 RH, £196,000, November 2008

5) K1 NGS, £185,000, December 1993

6) KR15 HNA, £180,000, May 2015

7) 1 O, £170,000, January 2009

8) 1 A, £160,000, December 1989

9) 1 OO, £156,000, April 2006

10) 2 O, £115,000, March 2009

11) 6B, £101,700, September 2008

12) 250L, £100,500, November 2014

Plates4less revealed the top 10 most popular searches on its website for people looking to buy personalise number plates.

The top 10 searches were:

1. Sam

2. Dan

3. Tom

4. Boss

5. BMW

6. Ben

7. Lee

8. Amy

9. Chris

10. Ash

Other people use registrations to represent a business or profession, making the plate a form of advertising.

The most popular styles of plate are:

Prefix Style 53% e.g. T5 REG

Current Style 44% e.g. PR17 ATE

Northern Irish Style 2% e.g. PNZ 474

Suffix Style <1% e.g. REG 6S

Dateless Style <1% e.g. REG 555

Private registrations are also far more affordable than many people think, and while some do fetch the same price as a house, the cheapest sell for less than £300; these are the ones responsible for putting so much money in the Treasury, with thousands sold every year.