We use cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more Accept and Close
Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101
We are working on a new website with a range of new services available. You can try it out here and let us know what you think.

Vehicles Seized Under Section 165A (Road Traffic Act 1998)

Under Section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988, police have the power to seize any vehicle that is being driven without a valid insurance policy or where the driver does not hold a valid driving license. If your vehicle has been seized for this reason the driver should have received a UNIL1 seizure notice.

Vehicle RecoveryThe Police Officer will have also reported the driver for summons for the offences committed, or arrested, or been given a fixed penalty fine of £300 plus 6 penalty points on their driving licence.

Once the car has been seized it will be taken to the vehicle recovery compound, where you will be charged a release fee plus a daily storage fee until the vehicle is collected. Click on the link to view the  charges [68KB] .

How can I get my impounded car back?

To release your impounded car you will need to attend the police station specified on the seizure form, during the hours of 9am and 4pm, to produce the requested documentation:

  • The Vehicle Seizure UNIL1 form
  • Full V5C Vehicle Registration Document in the owner's name

For uninsured vehicle seizures there are 5 police stations throughout the County where documents can produced to secure the release of vehicles. Only these police stations can provide release documentation on vehicles that have been seized:

  • Cannock Police Station
  • Burton Police Station
  • Longton Police Station

Where the owner does not have full V5C the following may be accepted, but only if the DVLA is not showing a different current keeper on their database:

  • New owner slip, with a completed V62 form and substantive proof of purchase (i.e. invoice from an approved auction or garage sale). Hand written receipts will not be accepted.


  • Proof that a V62 has been completed and paid for at the Post Office. A fee of £25 is charged for this by the Post Office. They will send this to the DVLA to request a V5C to be sent to the new keeper.
  • If the DVLA is still showing a current keeper on their database, which is not the person trying to reclaim the vehicle then the new keeper will have to send off the V62 form at the Post Office and wait for their V5 to be sent to them before they can produce their documents at the Police Station and then collect their vehicle. During this time the storage charges [68KB]  will continue to accrue on a daily basis.
    • During this time it is advisable for the owner to contact the Staffordshire Police Vehicle Recovery Department so that they are aware that there may be a delay in the recovery of the vehicle, to prevent the vehicle from being disposed. They can be contacted via email to vr@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk OR by telephone on 01785 235134.
  • Valid driving licence - The following are acceptable:-
  • a UK photo card driving licence. If you have the old paper licence you will need to bring your passport or another verifiable form of photo ID (one listed 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 Driver's Permit or an official translation, plus a passport or other evidence of immigration status and date of arrival in the UK.
  • if you have already surrendered your licence to the police we will need evidence of this together with another type of verifiable photo ID (one listed above).
  • Current insurance documents for the seized vehicle (ensuring it allows for the release of a vehicle from a police compound).
  • Compound insurance - A standard insurance policy will not suffice and a special impounded car insurance policy is required. Without the correct policy you will not be able to retrieve your car and will incur further daily fees.
  • Short term insurance or temporary cover (less than 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 are 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.
  • 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.
  • Documents will not be accepted on face value. Checks will be completed in conjunction with the DVLA and Motor Insurers' Bureau. Direct contact will also be made with your insurance company. Please note that this could lead to your insurer withdrawing cover if you have not advised them of any driving convictions or pending convictions.

If someone is reclaiming the vehicle or property on your behalf

As the registered keeper 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 are out of the country or there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances which prevent you from being able to.

If after attending the police station to establish your ownership, you nominate someone to collect the vehicle on your behalf, they must present payment to the recovery operator once they have satisfied the release process at the police station and been issued with the release notice. They must have all of the documents mentioned above plus:

  • Authority letter - a letter signed by you authorising the third party to collect it on your behalf.
  • A copy of your passport or driving licence as proof of signature.
  • If the vehicle is being driven, 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 attending the pound if there is any doubt.

Please note: This also applies to all recovery operators towing or lifting a vehicle on your behalf.

Provisional Driving Licence Holders

If you're driving under a provisional licence then you will need someone with you who is over 21 and has held a licence for more than three years.

You will also need to make sure you have L plates on the vehicle.

Police Station release process for vehicles seized for no insurance or no Licence

Once the Police Station staff are satisfied with the documents produced they will authorise the release of the vehicle and will issue a release notice allowing them to collect their vehicle.

The Police Station staff will also check if the vehicle has current tax and MOT before authorising the release of the vehicle. They will write on the release form if either are not in place, so that the recovery operator is aware.

The vehicle has no current MOT or tax - If the vehicle does not have a current MOT then it will not be possible to tax the vehicle before it passes the MOT and therefore cannot be taxed prior to the collection of the vehicle. This will incur an additional £160 surety fee, which is payable to the recovery garage upon collection of the vehicle. This surety fee will be reimbursed upon production of proof of taxing. The owner has 14 days from payment in which to reclaim the surety fee, upon production of valid proof that the vehicle has been taxed.

The vehicle must be booked in for MOT at an MOT station within close proximity to the vehicle compound prior to the collection of the vehicle. The vehicle must be driven directly to the MOT station.

The vehicle has current MOT but no tax - If the vehicle does have current MOT, but no tax then the owner must either tax the vehicle before it is collected and produce proof of taxing, or they will be charged the surety fee of £160 which will be reimbursed upon production of proof of taxing. The owner has 14 days from payment in which to reclaim the surety fee, upon production of valid proof that the vehicle has been taxed.

Vehicle Recovery Compound Process

The release form, issued by Police Station staff, must then be taken to the vehicle recovery compound and produced by the person who has been authorised to reclaim the vehicle, along with their photographic ID.

You will need to pay the seizure fees [68KB]  and show the recovery operator your documentation before the vehicle is released.

How long do I have to collect my impounded/seized car?

From the date your car has been seized by the police you will have a total of 14 days to collect your car. After a 14 day period has elapsed the compound may destroy or auction off your car.

What if I don't want to collect my vehicle?

If you don't want the vehicle back, you can disclaim it by signing a form signing the vehicle over to us for disposal. This can be done by signing a disclaimer form at the recovery operator's premises. Once you disclaim the vehicle, further storage costs will not be applied, but you will still be liable for the recovery fee and storage up to that point.

If you don't want the vehicle back, we would prefer that you disclaim it rather than simply not turn up to collect it: it enables us to draw a line under the incident. The Disclaimer Form [117KB]  should be completed and taken to the recovery operator along with the V5 if you have one in your possession.

Vehicles Unclaimed After 15 Days

Vehicles unclaimed after 15 days from the date of seizure will be disposed, unless specific instructions have been received to delay this disposal, which is at the discretion of the Vehicle Recovery Manager.

Contact for Vehicle Recovery is vr@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk OR 01785 235134.