This page explains the Met's policy on the stolen vehicles that we find. Please read this page carefully and then go to this page to find out how to collect your vehicle.
If the Met finds a vehicle in London that has been reported lost or stolen it will be moved to a police pound for safekeeping. This includes vehicles that were reported stolen in other parts of the UK or in EU member states which are part of the Schengen Information System.
Lost or stolen vehicles which are found are treated as abandoned vehicles and removed to:
- protect the vehicle from damage or arson
- prevent the vehicle from being stolen again
- prevent the vehicle from being used in a crime or anti-social behaviour
- make sure it isn’t an obstruction or danger to other road users
You can collect your vehicle straight away; we may take the opportunity while it is at the pound to carry out a forensic examination, but that won’t prevent you collecting it immediately.
Because your vehicle has been stolen we strongly recommend that it is recovered to a garage for an inspection before your drive it yourself. The vehicle may have been damaged while it was being driven by the thief.
The owner, or their agent, is liable for the statutory removal and storage charges.
The vehicle will not be released until the charges have been paid.
The vehicle will be disposed after 14 days, if it has not been collected.
The legal basis for imposing these charges is explained in a House of Commons briefing paper here.
The statutory charges are set by the Home Office in The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed Sums and Charges) Regulations 2008.
The charges vary according to the type, size, position and condition of the vehicle. Storage charges start at midday on the day following removal.
The purpose of the charges is to recoup the costs incurred in recovering the vehicle to a place of safety. In most cases these charges will be paid by the vehicle insurer, although this will depend upon the level of cover and the specific circumstances. The Met cannot advise on this.
How to collect your vehicle
A notice letter will be sent to the registered keeper and / or owner of the vehicle, giving instructions on how to arrange collection. The same information can also be found on this page.
It is strongly recommended that you call the pound in advance to make an appointment to collect the vehicle. This may prevent a wasted journey and will reduce your waiting time.
The pound telephone number can be found on the notice letter that is sent by post.
If you have submitted an insurance claim in respect of a stolen vehicle, you must speak to your insurer before arranging collection. The insurance company may have a claim to the vehicle and wish to collect it themselves.
If you have already sent your V5C (registration document) to the insurance company, then we will require written confirmation from the insurer that you are authorised to collect the vehicle.
The vehicle may be collected immediately, but it cannot be released until the stamped VIN (chassis) number has been checked by the pound staff. This cannot be done if the vehicle is locked.
If the vehicle is locked and you do not have a key, or if your key will not open it, we won’t be able to release the vehicle to you until the Met can arrange for a locksmith to gain entry. This may take several days.