Thousands of UK vehicle dealers are expected to miss the April 1 deadline to register with Customs & Excise as part of new money laundering regulations introduced to curtail criminal activity.

A national accountancy firm has warned that high value dealers (HVDs) risk prosecution and hefty fines if they fail to meet the deadline.

Motor dealers who accept high value cash payments (HVPs) of €15,000 (£9,000) or more must submit official registration documents and pay a registration fee of £60 before April 1.

Alternatively, dealers can take steps to remove themselves from the threat of prosecution by refusing to accept large cash payments and insisting instead on payment by credit card, BACS (bank transfer) or cheque.

"Registration is still possible and is essential for dealers who want to avoid penalties of up to £5,000," a spokesman said.