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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.
If your vehicle has been seized for this reason the driver should have received a seizure notice. If the driver of the vehicle isn't the owner, then the registered owner/keeper will also have received a similar notice by post.
If your vehicle has been impounded for another reason, go here.
You must go to a police station within the force area where your vehicle was seized within seven working days of receiving the seizure notice to reclaim your vehicle.
The vehicle must be reclaimed by the registered keeper or owner of the vehicle.
If the claimant is the registered keeper of the vehicle, they can make the claim at any police station in the force area where the notice was issued that's open to the public: for example, notices issued in Hampshire must be produced at a Hampshire police station, those issued in Thames Valley must be presented at a Thames Valley police station.
Once you’ve produced the correct documents (which are listed below), we’ll give you a release notice explaining what has to be done next.
We’ll automatically notify the pound of the release together with details of the person to whom the vehicle can be released.
Take the release notice to the vehicle pound named on the notice. The pound won’t release the vehicle unless you produce this document.
Before release, you’ll have to show pound staff photo ID. This proves that the person who went to the police station is the same person claiming the vehicle from the pound.
Pounds won’t accept seizure or release notices:
We won't accept a student or employer’s ID.
Your driving licence must be either:
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 an EU member state or EEA country that disqualification applies in the UK too.
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.
Please make sure you've declared all the relevant facts to your insurer, including:
If you took out the policy after the vehicle was seized you must also declare relevant pending convictions, including those which may be pending in repsect of the incident for which the vehicle is currently impounded. You must also tell the insurer that the vehicle has been seized and is in a police pound.
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:
If the V5C isn’t available, it may be possible for us to make a check with the DVLA.
In such cases, the station staff will ask for photo ID to show that the claimant is the person shown on the DVLA database as the registered keeper.
If the claimant has the V5C/2 new keeper supplement, we’ll require the completion of a V62 application for a new V5C, which we'll send to DVLA.
If the V62 is accompanied by a V5C/2, the registration process is free of charge and will be posted to DVLA by the Post Office. Without a V5C/2 there is a DVLA charge, which will be collected from you by the Post Office and sent to DVLA with the application.
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 staff at the police station can send the relevant documents to DVLA on your behalf.
If your vehicle is over three years old and doesn't have a current MOT test pass certificate, you must:
If the vehicle’s excise duty has expired, the vehicle may be seized again if it’s taken on a road.
As the registered keeper/owner you are legally responsible for the vehicle. You should attend the police station in person to prove ownership, unless:
If after coming to the police station to establish your ownership, you nominate someone to collect the vehicle on your behalf, they must present the documents listed above, plus:
If the vehicle is being driven, they must also have a valid driving licence and 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 coming to the pound if you're in doubt.
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 aged 16 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.
After you've been to the police station and the vehicle has been released, you must take the following to the pound stated on the release notice:
Charges are collected at the pound on behalf of the Chief Officer. They aren't payable at the police station.
You can find full details about the statutory charges you'll have to pay in The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Regulations 2023.
For vehicles seized before 6 April 2023 you'll have to pay the charges listed in The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Retention and Disposal of Seized Motor Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 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 on the next working day after the vehicle was seized.
Pounds will be open on Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.
Acceptable methods of payment vary but usually the following are accepted:
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).
If you don’t want to reclaim your vehicle you don’t need to take any action. We'll dispose of it after 14 days.
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.
The vehicle will only be released when the procedures outlined above have been completed, the fees paid and the vehicle returned to your custody.
If you're a recovery operator collecting a vehicle from the pound you must:
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 attach valid replacement plates when you collect it.
If you’re driving under a provisional licence you must bring someone who:
Make sure you have L plates on the vehicle.
We’ll allow an owner or keeper to sell a vehicle after it’s been seized.
In these cases, the person who was the owner or the registered keeper at the time of the seizure must come to the police station with the new owner.
We'll return the vehicle to the person who owned it at the time of the seizure but will allow the new owner to drive it from the pound, provided they produce a valid licence and insurnace to drive.
We'll need to know that the DVLA new-keeper procedure has been complied with.
If the vehicle is sold to a genuine motor trader:
But remember that an open motor trade insurance will not permit the reclaim of an impounded vehicle.
The new keeper will be required to register the vehicle in their own name.
We’ll notify the DVLA of the correct keeper of the vehicle if the DVLA record is inaccurate.
The instructions in a seizure notice, given to the driver when the vehicle is seized, contain further information.
The pound staff will also send the registered keeper a notice letter with the details of what's happened to their vehicle.