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Advice centre

Reclaiming a seized vehicle

Vehicle Recovery Scheme

Statutory notice to registered keeper/owner

Road Traffic Act 1988 (Retention and Disposal of Seized Motor Vehicles) Regulations 2005

A Police Officer in uniform has formed a reasonable belief that the vehicle detailed overleaf was being driven (or has been driven in the previous 24 hours) without a valid certificate of insurance AND/OR a valid driving licence to cover the category and use of the vehicle. The driver has been required and failed to produce these documents immediately or has failed to satisfy that they are in existence. The vehicle has now been seized and moved to a secure compound for safe storage. Further details can be obtained by taking this notice to the Police Station specified overleaf. In order to claim the vehicle, the Registered Keeper/Owner must comply with the conditions below.

You must attend the police station within 7 working days from when the vehicle was seized. Taking with you all the relevant documents required to reclaim your vehicle. No extensions to this time limit will be considered.

At the police station

The Registered Keeper/Owner must satisfy the police that:

  1. They are the registered Keeper with DVLA, or otherwise prove ownership of the vehicle
  2. Produce a valid licence to drive the vehicle
  3. Produce a current and, valid certificate of insurance to cover their use of the vehicle. You will need to produce a verifiable form of photographic ID (e.g. passport, driving licence, national ID card)
  4. Proof of address (Recent utility bill, bank statement) may assist in validating any insurance certificate produced.

Documents are to be produced at the specified police station between the hours of 0800 hrs and 1600hrs Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

If refered to Operation Piranha at West Bromwich Police Station hours of business is 0900 x 1500 hours Monday to Friday.

Failure to produce these documents will mean the vehicle cannot be released in all cases original documents are required, photocopies are not acceptable.

1. Proof of being the registered keeper or of ownership of the vehicle

a) Full V5C registration document(vehicle logbook); or

b) Bona fide bill of sale or receipt from a verifiable source (please note that the vehicle may not be released if the previous owner cannot be contacted) accompanied with a correctly filled out and current V5C/2 New Keeper Supplement

c) Any other documents that the owner or can produce supporting their claim to own the vehicle will be considered

2. Valid driving licence

a) A valid UK driving licence (photo card);


b) A valid UK paper licence accompanied with a verifiable form of photographic ID); e.g. passport

c) A valid EU driving licence; or

d) A valid non EU driving licence accompanied by a passport and evidence of date of entry into the UK. With the exception of students and visitors to the UK, a non EU licence is only valid for one year from first entering the UK; or

e) An international driving permit accompanied by the original licence of which it is a translation.

f) A police fixed penalty receipt or other official Court or Police receipt for the licence together with a verifiable photo ID. If recovering a motorcycle as a learner we also need to see your valid CBT certificate.

g) Enquiries to validate non UK licences will be made, which can delay the release of the vehicle.

3. Valid certificate of insurance

The regulations require the production by the owner, registered keeper or their nominee of a valid certificate of insurance covering their use of the seized vehicle at the time of release. A certificate may be produced electronically. Police will undertake checks with the Motor Insurer’s Bureau or insurance company in order to validate the policy. Before you attend check with your insurance provider that they will cover you to reclaim a vehicle that has been seized by a government authority and that you have notified the insurer of all material facts, including any pending prosecutions, fixed penalty notices and unspent criminal convictions if applicable. We will check with your insurer that you have. Proof of address may also be required.

WARNING: It is a serious criminal offence to fail to declare the relevant facts or to give false information when obtaining insurance. This can render your insurance invalid.

We can legally share information with your insurer or the Motor Insurance Bureau.

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 attending the pound.

Nominated third party

The owner or registered keeper of a vehicle can nominate a third party to collect a vehicle on their behalf, but only after they have attended the specified police station and satisfied the police that they are the registered keeper or owner. As a nominated third party they will need to ensure that the insurance certificate they present is valid for their use of the vehicle at the time of reclaiming it and that the certificate does not exclude the use to reclaim a seized vehicle. They should seek authority from their insurance company prior to attending. Checks will be made in all cases to ensure the validity of the Insurance cerificate.

Open (trade) insurance policies

Where an open (trade) certificate is produced, we will not speak to anyone other than the person or company owner named on the certificate. We require evidence of ownership of the seized vehicle. Failing to provide adequate, verifiable proof of ownership will result in a refusal to release the seized vehicle. Open (Trade) certificates cannot be accepted to claim a privately owned vehicle.

Confirmation of release

Once authorised for release the Owner/Registered Keeper/Nominated Third Party should take this form along with their photographic ID to the recovery operators premises within 14 days from the date of seizure. Recovery operators are open between 09:00-17:00 Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

Payment of Statutory Charges

Full details of the statutory charges can be found in the Road Traffic Act (Retention and Disposal of Seized Vehicles) Regulations 2005 - Amended 2008. This document is available on the internet.

These charges vary according to the weight and condition of the vehicle. In most cases these charges will be:

  • Two-wheeled vehicles - £150 removal charges and £10 per day storage charge
  • Car and light vans - £150 removal charge and £20 per day storage

Please note: The daily storage charges commence at midday the first working day following the date of seizure.


You should contact the recovery operator direct to establish which methods of payment are acceptable.

Collecting property only (not the vehicle itself)

We will only authorise release of property from the vehicle to the owner or registered keeper of the vehicle or to the driver at the time of seizure. Should the driver of the vehicle not be the owner he/she will be required to provide proof of ownership of the property.

Should there be any medication within the vehicle it will not be released unless it is in the manufacturers packaging which identifies that it has been prescribed to the person collecting the medication.

Proof of ID will be required in all cases.

If the registered keeper or owner is collecting property, we will require proof of ownership or a V5C. The drivers’ details can be confirmed from the seizure notice.

Please note all items of property that are integral to the vehicle i.e. radio’s, speakers, alloy wheels will be disposed of with the vehicle and will not be authorised to be removed from the vehicle .

Disclaiming a vehicle

If you do NOT want to reclaim your vehicle from the pound (e.g. the recovery/storage costs outweigh the value of the vehicle) you do not have to take any action. The vehicle will be disposed of after 14 days. For vehicles seized under these powers there are no charges to pay if the vehicle is left at the recovery operators premises for disposal.

Recovery of vehicles from the recovery operator

We do not allow any repairs to vehicles in the pound. This includes tyre changes, windscreen repairs and jump starting. If your vehicle is not roadworthy or will not start, you must arrange professional recovery at your own expense e.g AA or RAC repair/tow truck.

The recovery operator must comply with all the relevant legislation including the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Other things to consider

  • Consider bringing a spare set of keys, if you were not in control of the vehicle at the time of removal.
  • Consider having the vehicle recovered, if there is any doubt about its road worthiness.
  • We cannot advise if your vehicle is driveable or roadworthy.
  • If your vehicle does not have the correct number plates and you plan to drive it, please bring valid replacement plates.


If your vehicle is over 3 years old and does not have a current MOT test pass certificate, you must bring evidence from a garage of a Pre-booked MOT appointment (You will only be allowed to drive your vehicle from the recovery operators premises direct to the MOT test station with a pre booked MOT ), or arrange recovery at your own expense.

Provisional Licence Holders

Provisional licence holders must be accompanied by someone who is over 21 and has held a full driving licence for 3 years, permitting them to drive the vehicle. Provisional licence holders must also display ‘L’ plates.

PG9 (Prohibition Notice)

If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 (Prohibition Notice) or if the pound staff deem it to be not roadworthy, you will be required to arrange recovery at your own expense.


What happens if I don’t believe my vehicle should have been seized?

You will still need to follow the above procedure and pay the statutory recovery charges .Please write to the address below enclosing copies of any relevant documents including the registration number of the vehicle and your contact details :

Vehicle Recovery Unit
West Midlands Police,
Lloyd House,
Colmore Circus Queensway
B4 6NQ

The Vehicle Recovery Unit will then consider your enquiry to determine if you are eligible for a refund. Please note where your insurance company has failed to update the Motor Insurance Bureau with your policy details you will not be successful in a reimbursement. You will need to contact your insurance company directly.

Do not attend this address in person – You will not be seen

The vehicle must be reclaimed within the 7 working days from seizure and the statutory removal and storage charges must be paid, even if the driver/owner intends to dispute the issue.

Any complaint about a Police Officer or member of Police Staff can be made at your local police station or online on the West Midlands Police contact us page. Complaints in this regard can only be about the conduct of the officer or member of Police Staff and not about the regulations themselves.


You are attending a working police station to reclaim your vehicle. We will not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour towards our staff, or other members of the public. Anyone abusing police officers or staff will be subject of further investigation by police and may be liable to prosecution. Please respect their role as they are there to assist you.