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

How to reclaim your vehicle

Please be aware that this process is carried out between the hours of 9am - 5pm only.

To reclaim your vehicle the registered keeper, owner or nominated driver must email us with electronic copies of the relevant documents (listed below) and wait for us to get in touch before you contact the recovery garage.

Before e-mailing your documents you must inform your insurance company that the vehicle has been seized and the circumstances of the seizure. Your policy may be invalid if information has not been disclosed. You must also inform your insurance company of any impending prosecutions.

It may take some time for insurance companies to process our requests.

The correct documents you need to reclaim your vehicle

Owners, nominated drivers and registered keepers must email us a copy of:

  • a valid driving licence
  • a valid insurance certificate, for at least 30 days, covering the person who is to drive the vehicle from the recovery garage

Please be aware that it may take a considerable amount of time for us to complete the necessary checks. This includes additional time to check with your insurance company. 

You'll also need to email us electronic copies of the documents listed below, depending on whether you're the registered keeper, owner or nominated driver collecting the vehicle.

Registered keeper

The registered keeper must email us copies of:

  • photographic ID (passport, valid driving licence card, or EU National Identity Card).
  • the V5C registration document in their name (all pages).


If the registered keeper can't produce a full V5C, but is showing on the DVLA register, we require proof of name and address that match the details on the DVLA register. This could be a bank statement dated within the last three months or a recent/current utility bill to accompany the photo ID.

Owner 

Owners of a vehicle who are not listed as the registered keeper at the DVLA must email us copies of:

  • a photographic ID
  • a current V5C/2 new keeper slip (section 10) that match the photo ID produced, dated within the last four weeks, correctly completed, unaltered
  • two documents showing proof of current address that match the address shown on the V5C/2
  • a ‘recognisable’ bill of sale or receipt from a verifiable source dated within the last four weeks (an official invoice which can be verified and traced)


If you have a hand-written note, you'll also need to produce another form of documentary evidence, such as a proof of payment or banking record within the last four weeks.
We won't release the vehicle if there's no verifiable link to the registered keeper.

The DVLA will need to be updated with current keeper details and you may be asked to complete a V62 application for a new V5C if you're not the current registered keeper on the DVLA register. 
You can find out about completing a V62 form on the DVLA website.

You'll also have to complete a V62 form if you've driven a vehicle 'in trade' on the road without a valid trade licence displayed - it must be taxed and registered to you as the owner immediately. If you bring the completed V62 form to the station, police staff can post it to the DVLA on your behalf.

Nominated driver

If the owner or registered keeper can't drive the seized vehicle, they can nominate a driver to drive it on their behalf.

The owner or registered keeper must still provide proof of ownership and photo ID.

The nominated driver must email us copies of:

  • a valid driving licence 
  • a valid insurance certificate covering them to secure the release of the vehicle

They should check with their insurance company that their policy will cover them to drive the vehicle from the recovery garage.

After you've sent us your documents

When you've emailed your documents, we'll review them to make sure you're permitted to recover the vehicle. When all of our checks are complete, we'll send you an email confirming that you may attend the recovery garage to collect your vehicle.

Please don't attend the garage until you've received this confirmation.

MOT

If your vehicle is over three years old and doesn't have a current MOT test pass certificate you can only drive it on a public road from the pound to an MOT testing station. You must:

  • bring evidence from a garage of a pre-booked MOT appointment, or
  • arrange recovery at your own expense

Vehicle excise duty (tax)

The current registered keeper is responsible for taxing a vehicle. The road tax is not transferred when the vehicle is sold to a new keeper.

If the vehicle's excise duty has expired, the vehicle may be seized again by DVLA if it's driven or parked on a public road.

Recovery truck/trailer

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 or you intend to collect the vehicle on a trailer.

Payment of charges

If you're the vehicle's owner, you must pay the statutory charges, including a daily storage charge.

You're also responsible for paying any costs incurred for the removal of any large items of property/equipment left in the vehicle, if they're not collected. 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 or the recovery operator, and vary depending on the weight and condition of the vehicle.

Collecting property only (not the vehicle itself)

We need:

  • photographic ID in all cases (see above list of what will be accepted)
  • V5C or proof of ownership (see above list of what will be accepted)

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.

There's no disposal fee in these circumstances.

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 by owners or third parties while they're at the recovery operator's premises (this includes changing tyres or repairing windscreens).

Things to be aware of

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

The police, including all recovery operator 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.

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.

Further information

Further instructions regarding this process are outlined on the seizure notice, given to the driver when the vehicle was seized.

The recovery operator will also send the registered keeper a notice letter if they were not the driver at the time the vehicle was stopped.