This page explains how to reclaim a vehicle that has been seized under S165A of the Road Traffic Act – because an officer had reasonable grounds to suspect that the driver was uninsured or was not driving in accordance with their driving licence.

If your vehicle has been seized for this reason the driver should have received a Form 3708 seizure notice.

If your vehicle has been impounded for another reason then go here.

How to reclaim your vehicle

Please note: You must go to the pound within seven working days of receiving the seizure notice to reclaim your vehicle.

If within 14 days you either haven’t reclaimed it or haven’t taken the correct steps to reclaim it then it will be disposed of.

To reclaim your vehicle you will need to go to the correct pound and you will need to bring the following with you:

  • Proof of identity – valid photo ID (a passport, driving licence, EU national identity card, immigration document or Freedom Pass. Student or employer’s ID won’t be accepted.)
  • Driving licence:
    • a UK photo card driving licence. If you have the old paper licence you will need to bring your passport or another verifiable form of photo ID (one listed above)
    • an EU/EEA photo card driving licence along with a passport or EU/EAA identity card
    • a non-EU/EEA driving licence together with an International Drivers Permit or an official translation, plus a passport or other evidence of immigration status and date of arrival in the UK
    • if you have already surrendered your licence to the police we will need evidence of this together with another type of verifiable photo ID (one listed above)
  • Insurance certificate – you will need a valid certificate of insurance to drive the vehicle. We’ll accept electronic copies of the certificate on your mobile device or sent by fax or email, if they have come directly from your insurer. Please ensure that all material facts have been declared to your insurer, including:
    • correct registered keeper details
    • any motoring convictions in the last five years
    • correct address
    • correct date of birth
    • correct occupation
    • if the policy was taken out after the seizure happened then any relevant pending convictions should also be declared

Please be aware that it is a serious criminal offence to fail to declare the correct material facts or to give false information when obtaining insurance. This can render your insurance invalid.

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

Short term insurance or temporary cover (less than 30 days) may not be valid to reclaim a seized vehicle. Please check the wording on the certificate or cover note. If in doubt, contact your insurer before you come to the pound. If we are not satisfied that your insurance is valid for the release of an impounded vehicle, we may ask you to provide written confirmation from your insurer.

It’s not possible for a Motor Trader to release a seized vehicle on your behalf. A motor trade policy will only permit the release of a vehicle that was the property of the motor trader and in their custody and control at the time of seizure.

  • Proof of ownership –

The full vehicle logbook (V5C) in your name together with proof of address to match the registered address

or

An unaltered and ‘in date’ new keeper supplement (V5C/2) together with a ‘verifiable’ bill of sale and proof of name and address to match the new keeper supplement

Please note: if a vehicle ‘in trade’ has been driven on the road without a valid trade license it must be registered to the owner immediately. The pound staff will send the relevant documents to DVLA on your behalf.

  • MOT - if your vehicle is over 3 years old and does not have a current MOT test pass certificate, you must bring evidence from a garage of a pre-booked MOT appointment, or arrange recovery at your own expense.

If someone is reclaiming the vehicle or property from the vehicle on your behalf

As the registered keeper you are legally responsible for the vehicle. You should attend the pound in person to prove ownership and pay the charges, unless you can provide evidence that you are out of the country or there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances which prevent you from being able to.

If after attending the pound to establish your ownership, you nominate someone to collect the vehicle on your behalf, they must present payment, the documents listed above plus the following:

  • Authority letter - a letter signed by you authorising the third party to collect it on your behalf
  • A copy of your passport or driving licence as proof of signature
  • If the vehicle is being driven, a valid certificate of insurance that allows them to reclaim a seized vehicle and drive it from the pound. The nominated driver should normally be named as an additional driver on the registered keeper's own policy. Contact your insurer before attending the pound if there is any doubt

Please note: This also applies to all recovery operators towing or lifting a vehicle on your behalf.

Payment of charges

You can find full details about the statutory charges in the Road Traffic Act (Retention and disposal of seized vehicles) Regulations 2005 – amended 2008 here.

These charges are set by government and not the Met and vary depending on the weight and condition of the vehicle.

In most cases where the vehicle is not badly damaged or off the road, the charges will be:

  • two wheeled vehicles - £150 removal charge and £10 per day storage
  • cars and light vans - £150 removal charge and £20 per day storage

Please note: the daily storage charges start from midday the day after the vehicle was seized.

We can’t accept payment over the phone, the cardholder must attend in person.

We don’t accept cheques or American Express card payments.

We do accept:

  • cash (British currency only)
  • Visa card
  • MasterCard
  • Maestro card
  • Solo card

Collecting property only (not the vehicle itself)

We will only give property from the vehicle to the owner or registered keeper of the vehicle, or to the driver at the time of seizure.

Proof of ID will be required in all cases.

If the registered keeper or owner is collecting property, we will require proof of ownership or a V5C. The driver’s details can normally be confirmed from the seizure notice.

If the registered keeper or owner is unable to attend the pound in person to collect the property, we will require a letter of authority and proof of signature. (See above)

Disclaiming a vehicle

If you don’t want to reclaim your vehicle then you don’t have to take any action. The vehicle will be disposed of after 14 days.

If you need written confirmation that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle then you will need to go to the pound with proof of identity and ownership and sign a disclaimer form. You’ll receive a copy.

There are no charges to pay if the vehicle is left at the pound for disposal.

If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice, is not roadworthy or won’t start

We don’t allow repairs to be made to vehicles while they’re at the pound (this includes changing tyres, repairing windscreens or jump starting).

Where possible the pound staff will try to assist you with jump starting, but this is not always possible. You will be required to sign a jump starting indemnification form.

If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice, isn’t roadworthy or won’t start them you will need to arrange for a fully trained, equipped and insured vehicle recovery operator to collect at your own expense.

Recovery Operators

If you are a recovery operator collecting a vehicle from the pound you must:

Read and sign the ‘Recovery instructions and operator’s declaration’ available as a download PDF below.

Produce the correct paperwork as explained in the ‘Documents required by recovery operators for recovery from the pound’ available as a download PDF below. You will also need to bring a letter of authority from the owner or keeper, as explained above, if they do not come to the pound with you.

Comply with the ‘Loading and unloading guidelines for recovery operators’ available as a download PDF below

Things to be aware of

  • bring a set of keys if possible, in case the driver did not leave the keys in the vehicle
  • if the vehicle has been in a collision and you’re not sure it’s roadworthy then consider having it recovered by a professional recovery operator
  • we highly recommend taking your vehicle to a garage for a safety check if you’re getting it back after it’s been stolen
  • we’re not able to advise on whether your vehicle is roadworthy
  • if your vehicle doesn’t have correct number plates and you’re planning on driving it then you’ll need to bring valid replacement plates with you when you collect it

Provisional driving licence holders

If you’re driving under a provisional licence then you will need someone with you who is over 21 and has held a licence for more than three years.

You will also need to make sure you have L plates on the vehicle. If you forget to bring them with you, they can be purchased at the pound.

Further Information

For further information, see the instructions contained in a seizure notice, which would have been given to the driver at the time of seizure. The ‘Instructions on 2016 seizure notice’ is available as a download pdf below.

The pound staff will also send the registered keeper a notice letter containing all the relevant information required to reclaim the vehicle.