A Bradford businessman has taken delivery of the sought-after F1 registration plate after paying a record total of £440,000 for it.

Afzal Khan, 37, owner of luxury vehicle company Khan Design in Canal Road, yesterday took possession of the plate from its previous owner Essex County Council.

The F on the plate represents cars registered in Essex. F1 was the first plate to be issued by the Essex County Register of Motors in 1904.

Fittingly, the Council has decided to spend the cash on a driving scheme for young people.

A spokesman said: "The money raised by its sale to Mr Khan will go to our Pass Plus test scheme aimed at developing the skills of young drivers. We had 325 young people involved in road traffic accidents in Essex last year. There were 12 fatalities and a further 156 serious accidents all involving young people. We are hoping to dispel the image of the Essex boy racer.

"Mr Khan came down to collect the plate and to see how the money will be spent. He was very happy to be associated with the project."

Mr Khan said: "I am privileged to have acquired such a prestigious plate. I am extremely happy the money raised from the sale will help improve road safety and through the training of young drivers.

"The training of young drivers is a very important issue and I am privileged to have contributed to such a worthy cause.

"I look forward to the F1 number plate being placed on the ground-breaking Range Rover Cosworth that we will be launching."

Mr Khan paid £375,000 for the plate, which with VAT, added up to £440,625. The price beats the previous record of £331,000 paid by a Cheshire businessman in July 2006 for the M1 plate.