Here, you can find out how to reclaim a vehicle that has been seized under Section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means 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, go here.

How to reclaim your vehicle

You are legally required to go to the pound within seven working days of the date on the seizure notice or notice letter to reclaim your vehicle.

If after 14 days, you either haven’t reclaimed the vehicle or haven’t met the legal requirements to reclaim it, we'll dispose of it.

To reclaim your vehicle you must go to the correct pound and bring the correct documents (which are listed below).

The correct documents you need to reclaim your vehicle

Proof of identity – valid photo ID, such as:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • EU national identity card
  • immigration document
  • Freedom Pass

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

Valid driving licence

Your driving licence must be either:

  • a UK photo card driving licence; if you have the old paper licence you need to bring your passport or another verifiable form of photo ID (one from the list 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 Driving Permit or an official translation, plus a passport or other evidence of immigration status and date of arrival in the UK

If you've already given your licence to the police we'll need evidence of this together with another type of verifiable photo ID (one from the list above).

If you've been disqualified in another EU member state or EEA country then that disqualification applies in the UK too.

Valid certificate of motor insurance

You'll need to produce a valid certificate of motor insurance that permits the release of a vehicle impounded by a government authority before your vehicle will be released, even if you don’t intend to drive it on a public road.

We’ll accept:

  • electronic copies of the certificate on your mobile device
  • copies sent by fax or email, if they've come directly from your insurer

Please make sure you've declared all the relevant facts to your insurer, including:

  • correct registered keeper details
  • any motoring convictions in the last five years
  • any claimable incidents within the last five years, whether a claim was made or not
  • any relevant medical conditions or disability
  • correct address
  • correct date of birth
  • correct occupation

If you took out the policy after the vehicle was seized then you must also declare the relevant pending convictions.

It's a serious criminal offence to fail to declare the correct material facts or to give false information when getting insurance. This can render your insurance invalid.

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

Short-term insurance or temporary cover (for a period of up to 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're 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.

A motor trader can't 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
  • in their custody and control at the time of seizure

Proof of ownership

  • the full vehicle registration document (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

If a vehicle ‘in trade’ has been driven on the road without a valid trade licence displayed 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 three years old and doesn't 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 the vehicle’s excise duty has expired, the vehicle may be seized again if it’s taken on a road.

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

If you're unable to attend the pound in person

As the registered keeper or owner of  a seized vehicle you are legally responsible for it and you must attend the pound in person to prove ownership and pay the charges.

This legal requirement will only be waived if you can provide evidence that:

  • you're out of the country (for example, a copy of flight tickets)
  • you're in custody
  • you're in hospital
  • you're immobile due to age, injury or disability
  • there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances that stop you being able to attend the pound in person

If any of the above circumstances apply to you, the third party collecting the vehicle on your behalf must attend the pound with:

  • the evidence of the valid reason why you can't attend in person
  • a letter of authority – a letter signed by you authorising the third party to collect the vehicle on your behalf
  • a copy of your passport or driving licence as proof of your identity and signature

If you can't drive the vehicle yourself

If you can attend the pound in person to establish your ownership but you can't drive the vehicle yourself, you may nominate someone to collect it on your behalf.

The third party must pay the charges and have:

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

In all cases of collection by a third party

If your vehicle is being collected by another person on your behalf, that person must hold a valid driving licence and a valid certificate of motor insurance that allows them to reclaim the seized vehicle from a police pound.


Valid motor insurance for third party collection

The nominated driver should normally be named as an additional driver on the registered keeper's own motor insurance policy. Please contact your insurer before coming to the pound if you're in any doubt. If there’s any doubt about the validity of the insurance, the pound staff may ask you to get confirmation from your insurer that the relevant material facts have been declared.

If you’ve insured the vehicle yourself but you don’t hold a valid driving licence or you’re not fit to drive, your insurance policy may not be valid.

If the nominated driver insures the vehicle but they haven’t informed the insurer that they’re not the owner or registered keeper, their insurance policy may not be valid.

The legal requirement for the impounded vehicle to have valid motor insurance before it leaves the pound applies in all cases, even if a recovery operator is collecting the vehicle from the pound on your behalf.

Derestricted mopeds

Sometimes we seize a moped because it’s been derestricted or modified to make it too powerful for the holder of a moped licence.

We’ll return the moped to the rider’s parent or guardian, provided the moped rider is aged16 or under.

The parent or guardian must sign an undertaking that the vehicle won’t be used on the road again, or be sold to a holder of a moped licence, until it’s been returned to a state where it complies with the legal status of a moped.

A letter explaining this procedure should be provided by the seizing officer. The moped won’t be returned to the rider alone.

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, not the police, 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 come to the pound.

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

We require proof of ID in all cases.

If the registered keeper or owner is collecting property, we'll 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 can't come to the pound in person to collect the property, we'll require a letter of authority and proof of signature (see above).

Disclaiming a vehicle

If you don’t want to reclaim your vehicle you don’t need to take any action. We'll dispose of the vehicle after 14 days.

If you need written confirmation that you're no longer responsible for the vehicle, 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, isn't roadworthy or won’t start

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

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

Where possible, the pound staff will try to help you with jump starting. You'll have to sign a jump-starting indemnification form.

Recovery operators

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

  • read and sign the ‘Recovery instructions and operator’s declaration’ (available in Downloads below)
  • produce the correct paperwork as explained in the ‘Documents required by recovery operators for recovery from the pound’ (available in Downloads below)
  • bring a letter of authority from the owner or keeper, as explained above, if they don't come to the pound with you
  • comply with the ‘Loading and unloading guidelines for recovery operators’ (available in Downloads below)

Things to be aware of

Bring a set of keys, in case the driver didn't leave the keys in the vehicle.

If the vehicle was in a collision and you’re not sure it’s roadworthy, 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.

The police, including all pound staff, can't advise on whether your vehicle is roadworthy.

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

Provisional driving licence holders

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

  • is over 21
  • has held a licence for more than three years

Make sure you have L plates on the vehicle.

If you forget to bring them, you can buy some at the pound.

Further information

The instructions in a seizure notice, given to the driver when the vehicle is seized, contain further information.

Read 'Instructions on 2016 seizure notice' (available in Downloads below).

The pound staff will also send the registered keeper a notice letter with all the information needed to reclaim the vehicle.