If you’ve received a seizure notice because your vehicle was seized on the belief that it was being driven:

  • without a driving licence
  • without valid insurance
  • in an anti-social manner

go to our seized vehicles page to find the right information.

If your vehicle has been lost or stolen, go to our lost or stolen page to find the right information.

Here, you'll find information on what to do if your vehicle was impounded by the police because it was:

  • causing an obstruction or danger
  • abandoned after an incident involving the police
  • involved in a road traffic collision or broken down
  • subject to an investigation

How to reclaim your vehicle

If your vehicle has been impounded and is being kept at one of our recovery operator's pounds if you're the registered keeper/owner of the vehicle, you'll receive a notice letter when it's ready for collection. (Only the registered owner/keeper can collect the vehicle.)

This letter will contain detailed instructions on what documents to produce to collect your vehicle and where your vehicle is being kept.

Always call the recovery operator before attending their pound, to make sure your vehicle's ready to collect and isn't held for examination or further investigation.

You can only collect your vehicle from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

Your vehicle will be disposed of if it hasn't been collected after 14 days.

The correct documents you need to collect your vehicle

It's the responsibility of the registered owner/keeper to produce all documentation in all circumstances.

Proof of identity – valid photo ID

This means either:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • national identity card
  • identity card issued by a reputable UK body, for example, HMRC or UK Visas and Immigration 

We won't accept a student or employer’s ID.

Proof of ownership

You must produce documents to satisfy us that you were the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle at the point of recovery or seizure. Photocopies of documents won't be accepted.

There are two options available:

Option 1

You must produce these documents:

  • the current log book (V5C) in the name of the owner
  • proof of address to match the address on the V5C

Option 2 (if you're the new owner of the vehicle)

You must produce these documents:

  • the new keeper supplement/slip from the current V5C in the name of the owner, unaltered and dated within two months of being presented
  • proof of address to match the address on the V5C
  • a reputable and verifiable bill of sale, which must be dated within two months of being presented (this must not be handwritten or altered in any way)
  • a completed application for a vehicle registration certificate (V62)

The V62 and the V5C slip must be given to the pound staff, along with an envelope and a stamp. These documents will be sent to the DVLA to make sure the vehicle is properly registered in your name.

Motor trader

If a vehicle ‘in trade’ has been driven on a road without valid trade licence plates displayed at the point of being impounded, it must be registered to an owner immediately. Please note, you must have a set of valid trade plates to display on the vehicle if it's being driven away.

Where the valid trade plates were being used the following documents must be produced:

  • the current log book (V5C) unaltered with the sale/transfer to motor trader slip detached
  • a reputable and verifiable bill of sale (this must not be handwritten) or trade book

In all other circumstances the motor trader must comply with the two options above.

Payment of charges

You'll have to pay the recovery and daily storage charges upon collection of the vehicle.

Full details about these charges, which are set by the government not the police, can be found in the Road Traffic Act (Retention and disposal of seized vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 – amended 2008.

If you don't want to collect your vehicle you'll still have to pay the disposal charge.

Charges vary depending on the weight and condition of the vehicle and the legislation used to impound the vehicle. Daily storage charges start at midday the day after the date on the original letter notifying that the vehicle is available for collection. 

You won't be charged for any period of storage that the vehicle was held for police examination or investigation purposes.

Normally where a vehicle has been involved in a road traffic collision your insurer will pay the charge, depending on the level of cover and the specific circumstances. We can't give any further advice on this; you need to contact your insurer direct.

If someone is collecting the vehicle on your behalf

If you can't attend the pound in person

As the registered owner/keeper you are legally responsible for the vehicle. You must attend the pound in person to provide photo ID and proof of ownership as detailed above and pay the charges before the staff will consider a nominated driver.

This legal requirement will only be waived if you're in one of these circumstances and if this evidence can be provided. If you're:

  • not currently in the UK – provide a power of attorney translated into English
  • detained in prison – provide a letter from the prison on headed paper
  • detained in hospital – provide a letter from the hospital on headed paper
  • immobile due to age, injury or disability – provide a letter from a health care professional on headed paper

As well as the relevant documents, the person collecting the vehicle must attend the pound with:

  • a letter of authority signed by you authorising the person to collect the vehicle
  • a copy of your passport or driving licence as proof of your identity and signature

If the registered owner/keeper has died and you're the next of kin collecting the vehicle you'll only need to provide one of the following:

  • medical certificate showing the cause of death (signed by a doctor), or 
  • death certificate

In exceptional circumstances, you'll also need written confirmation from the investigating police officer.

In all circumstances the person collecting must still produce a valid driving licence and valid certificate of insurance.

If you're a registered company and own or insure the impounded vehicle

In these circumstances the person collecting the vehicle must produce a letter of authority from the company registered on the V5C, or if hired under an official agreement then a hire agreement from the company registered on the V5C.

A letter of authority must be:

  • reputable and verifiable
  • include the company number
  • signed by an appropriate official from the company
  • detail the individual collecting
  • dated within two months of being presented

A hire agreement must be:

  • reputable and verifiable
  • in the name of the individual or company hiring
  • dated before the vehicle was impounded

In all circumstances the person collecting must still produce a valid driving licence and valid certificate of insurance.

Collecting property only (not the vehicle itself)

Property found within a vehicle can be returned without collecting the vehicle. This doesn't include any item fixed to the vehicle such as alloy wheels, sound system etc.

We'll only give property from the vehicle once it's no longer required for examination to these people:

  • the registered owner/keeper
  • the driver at the time of seizure
  • any other person who can prove ownership of items being collected

We require proof of identity – valid photo ID in all cases.

If the registered owner/keeper is collecting property, we'll also need proof of ownership of the vehicle.

Please note, if the vehicle is badly damaged it might not be possible to get into it to remove property.

Things to be aware of

Keys

You may need to bring a spare set of keys. The vehicle can't be released until the vehicle identification number (VIN) has been confirmed. This can't be done if the vehicle is locked.

Vehicle condition

For your own safety we strongly advise you to take care when entering your vehicle for the first time. While efforts are made to remove illicit or hazardous items from vehicles that have been taken from people other than the owner this can't be guaranteed.

We won't advise you on whether your vehicle is roadworthy.

If your vehicle isn’t roadworthy due to a collision or other issue, has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice or won’t start, you need to arrange for a professional recovery operator to collect it at your own expense.

We don't allow vehicles to be repaired at the pound, this includes changing tyres, repairing windscreens or jump starting.

If your vehicle doesn't have correct number plates and you're planning on driving it, you must attach valid replacement plates when you collect it.

Documents you need to drive on the road

It's your responsibility to make sure that you have the other necessary valid documents to drive your vehicle legally on a road:

  • MOT certificate
  • road tax
  • certificate of insurance
  • driving licence