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

You'll find the details of how to reclaim your vehicle on the seizure notice. You have seven working days to go to one of the police stations specified on the seizure notice to reclaim your vehicle or it may be sold or scrapped. 

Pounds are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm.

To prove your identity you need valid photo ID, such as:

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

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

If your seized vehicle is an e-scooter or unregistered off road bike then you will not be able to reclaim this vehicle back. Find out more advice on using e-scooters.

Legislation for vehicles seized under S165 RTRA, including e-scooters and unregistered off road bikes requires the owner to produce a valid driving licence, valid insurance to drive on public highways and valid ownership in order to release a seized vehicle from the Police Compound. 

There is no insurance company that allows for e-scooters or  off road bikes to be ridden on public highway and therefore there is no way that these vehicles can be released, as the relevant documents cannot be produced to satisfy the vehicle release process.

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

Valid certificate of 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 (impound insurance), even if you don’t intend to drive it on a public road.

We’ll accept:

  • a paper certificate of motor insurance
  • copies sent by email
  • an insurance certificate on your mobile phone as long as it shows clearly on the screen

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

  • correct owner and registered keeper details
  • any motoring convictions in the last five years
  • any relevant criminal convictions
  • correct address
  • correct date of birth
  • correct occupation
  • any modifications to your vehicle from standard specification

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 respect 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 and Staffordshire Police will report all suspected fraud to the relevant company.

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. 

Trade or business insurance policies

Trade or business insurance policies can be produced as long as the policy:

  • specifically names the driver who is collecting the vehicle.
  • specifically lists the vehicle on the stock list.
  • trade policies will only be accepted if accompanied by stock books and VAT registration certificate; the driver should also have declared to the police officer who seized the vehicle that they were driving the vehicle for business purposes.

Proof of ownership

You should produce a valid full vehicle registration document (V5C) in your name together with proof of address. (You may be required to provide further evidence of purchase or ownership.)

If you have a V5C/2 new keeper supplement, you'll need to apply for a V5C before you can collect your vehicle. Find out how here

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.

MOT

If your vehicle is over three years old and doesn't have a current MOT test pass certificate, you must:

  • only take your vehicle from the pound directly to a pre-booked MOT appointment, or
  • arrange recovery at your own expense

If someone is reclaiming the vehicle on your behalf

As the registered keeper/owner you are legally responsible for the vehicle. You should attend the police station in person to prove ownership, unless:

  • you can provide evidence that you're out of the country, or
  • there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances that stop you being able to

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:

  • an authority letter – 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 signature

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.

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.

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 on the next working day after the vehicle was seized.

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).

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.

Recovery operators

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

  • 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 any health and safety or other reasonable instructions issued by the pound staff

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 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.

The pound staff will also send the registered keeper a notice letter with the details of what's happened to their vehicle.

Contact us

You can either email the Vehicle Recovery Team or call us on 01785 235134.