CASH from the sale of the unique AJ1 vehicle registration which raised £243,000 is being ploughed into making the roads of North Yorkshire safer,

The number plate, was the first to be used in the North Riding of Yorkshire by the Chief Constable 113 years ago. Because of its huge value the Force decided it should be sold and the money invested in supporting local communities.

Some money was used to improve the Memorial Garden at police headquarters in Northallerton and the rest was offered as grants for road safety schemes to help children and young people, cyclists, motorcyclists and older road users. There was huge demand with applications for up to £1 million. Now 90 have been chosen to receive cash, including 21 in Hambleton, eight in Richmondshire and 10 in Ryedale. Agreements are now being drawn up with the local groups.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: "Communities across North Yorkshire and York tell me that improving the safety of the roads where they live is one of their main priorities, so I am pleased by the number and quality of the applications that were put forward to the AJ1 Fund.

"Although the AJ1 numberplate will always have a historical connection to North Yorkshire Police, I strongly believe that it was right to use the value of the registration mark to make a real impact on people’s lives today.