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 believe that the driver was uninsured or was not driving in accordance with their driving licence, or the vehicle wasn't taxed.

If your vehicle has been seized for this reason a seizure notice will have been given to the driver, where practicable. A notice letter will also be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle, if they were not the driver.

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

How to reclaim your vehicle

The registered keeper or owner is legally required to go to the police station named on the seizure notice within seven working days of the date on the seizure notice or notice letter to reclaim the vehicle. (You'll find the police station opening hours on the seizure notice.)

You must take the correct documents with you.

Your vehicle will be disposed of after 14 days if you:

  • fail to reclaim it
  • fail to comply with the requirements below

If you can't meet these requirements, please contact the Vehicle Recovery Liaison Office on 01452 752681.

Please note, if you want to collect your vehicle on a trailer you must attend the police station with the correct documents first, then you can discuss what arrangements can be made to collect your vehicle. 

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

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 us 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 that disqualification applies in the UK too.

Valid insurance certificate

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 sent by email, if we're satisfied they're genuine

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 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 attending the nominated police station. 

If we're not satisfied that your insurance is valid for the release of the 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

We can't release the vehicle until we're satisfied that you're the owner or registered keeper. You must produce: 

  • the full vehicle registration document (V5C) in your name, or
  • an unaltered and ‘in date’ new keeper supplement (V5C/2) together with a ‘verifiable’ bill of sale

We also need proof of name and address to match either the V5C or the V5C/2

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. 

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 (we'll check the appointment before authorising the release of your vehicle), or
  • arrange recovery at your own expense

If someone is reclaiming the vehicle on your behalf

As the registered keeper or owner of a seized vehicle you are legally responsible for it. You should attend the designated police station in person, unless you can provide evidence that you're out of the country or there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances that prevent you from collecting your vehicle.

If you nominate someone to collect the vehicle on your behalf, the nominated person must present the correct documents to reclaim the vehicle (listed above) plus the following:

  • a letter of authority – a letter signed by you authorising your nominated person to collect the vehicle on your behalf
  • a copy of your passport or driving licence – so we can verify your signature on the letter of authority

If the person who's collecting your vehicle will be driving it, they'll need a valid certificate of insurance that allows them to reclaim a seized vehicle and drive it from the recovery agent's garage. The nominated driver should normally be named as an additional driver on the registered keeper’s policy. Contact your insurer if there's any doubt about insurance cover.

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.

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

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

You pay the recovery agent when you collect your vehicle from the garage named on the seizure notice. Contact them direct to find out which payment methods they'll accept.

Other things to consider

Bring a set of keys, if necessary.

If there's any doubt about the vehicle's roadworthiness, consider having it recovered by a professional recovery operator.

We can't advise you if your vehicle is driveable or roadworthy.

If your vehicle doesn’t have correct number plates and you’re planning to drive it, you must attach 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, and
  • has held a licence for more than three years

Make sure you have L plates on the vehicle.

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 need verifiable proof of ID (such as a passport or driving licence) in all cases.

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

If the registered keeper or owner can't go to the recovery agent's garage, the person collecting the property on their behalf must have a letter of authority from you and proof of your signature (see above).

Disclaiming a vehicle

If you don't want to reclaim your vehicle from the recovery agent's garage you'll need to complete a vehicle disclaimer form (download it below) and send it to:

Vehicle Recovery Liaison Office
No 1 Waterwells Drive
Quedgeley
Gloucester
GL2 2AF

Please note, you may still be responsible for recovery and storage fees.

Download