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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

Stolen/Abandoned Vehicles

What powers do the police have to remove stolen vehicles or abandoned vehicles from where they find them?

Section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 authorises the police to remove vehicles that are illegally, dangerously or obstructively parked or abandoned or broken down, whether or not they have been stolen.

Police officers who discover a stolen vehicle will try to stay with it until it is recovered. This prevents it from being stolen again, vandalised or used for other criminal purposes.  Owners are not always immediately available and may not be able or willing to attend at once. 

The vehicle may not be safe just to drive away or may need to be examined before it is used again. 

Police contracted operators have to meet specified standards. Membership of a breakdown club may not be able to provide a guaranteed speed of service and safe removal.

Will I have to pay if the police recover my stolen vehicle?

There are statutory fees [68KB]  that you are legally required to pay. They are decided by the Home Office.

The storage period begins at noon on the first day after your vehicle's removal. This is to allow the vehicle operator sufficient time to notify you that your vehicle is ready for collection. No VAT is payable on these fees.

The fees are made payable to the vehicle recovery operator who has collected your vehicle. They are acting as agents on behalf of Staffordshire Police.