Here, you can find out how to reclaim a vehicle that has been seized for one of the following reasons: 

If your vehicle has been impounded for another reason, go to our impounded vehicles page.

If your vehicle has been lost or stolen, go to our lost or stolen vehicles page.

How to reclaim your vehicle

You are legally required to attend the recovery operator’s pound within seven working days of your vehicle being seized.

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.

The vehicle must be collected by the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle from the pound as directed by the recovery operator and bring the correct documents (which are listed below).

If after 14 days, you haven't met the legal requirements and collected the vehicle, we'll dispose of it. No extensions are given.

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.

Please note that until you've proved that you own the vehicle and confirmed your own identity we won't check any other documents.

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 full 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 full 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.

Valid driving licence (Section 165 seizures only)

The person who will drive the vehicle away from the pound must have a valid driving licence; if that person is a provisional licence holder, the person supervising must have a valid licence.

If the licence does not clearly display a photograph which is a true likeness of the holder we'll need another proof of identity as listed above.

We'll accept these licences:

If you're driving under a provisional licence you must bring someone who:

  • is over 21 years of age
  • has held a full licence for more than three years.

You must also make sure you have L plates for the vehicle.

Valid certificate of motor insurance (Section 165 seizures only)

The person who'll drive the vehicle away must have a valid certificate of motor insurance. The policy must permit the release of the vehicle from a police pound, even if there's no intention to drive it on a road or public place.

We'll accept:

  • the original certificate issued by the insurer
  • electronic certificate on your mobile device
  • copy of certificate attached to an email direct from the insurer

Motor traders can't release a seized vehicle on your behalf. These policies will only permit the release of a vehicle that at the time of seizure was:

  • the property of the motor trader, and
  • in their custody and control

Where the policy does not specify the seized vehicle the certificate will only be accepted where it can be demonstrated that it is an ‘excepted vehicle’ under Motor Vehicles (compulsory Insurance) (Information and Compensation) Body Regulations 2003. Such vehicles should only be on cover for less than 15 days.

It's important that you've declared all the relevant facts to your insurer, including the following details for any person associated with the policy, including the correct:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • occupation
  • motoring convictions in the last five years, including any pending
  • claims in the last five years
  • relevant medical condition or disability

If you took the policy out after the vehicle was seized don't forget to declare the pending convictions for the incident that led to the vehicle being impounded.

You must also tell the insurer that the vehicle has been seized and is in a police pound.

Providing a false declaration or giving false information when getting insurance is a criminal offence. This may render your insurance invalid.

We may share information with your insurer or the Motor Insurers' Bureau if we suspect an offence.

Payment of charges

You'll have to pay the recovery and daily storage charges when you collect the vehicle. Full details about these charges, which are set by the government, not the police, can be found in the following links: 

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

Daily storage charges start from midday the day after the vehicle was seized.

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, including:

  • MOT certificate
  • road tax