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.
Your vehicle can also be seized if it's being driven on a public road or place and:
- it hasn't been taxed for two months and one day or longer
- it's registered as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)
If your vehicle has been seized for any of these reasons 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
If you were driving the vehicle and you're the DVLA registered keeper, you'll have been given a seizure notice by the officer at the roadside. You'll need to attend one of three designated police stations with documents that prove your ID and your ownership of the vehicle to start the process of reclaiming your vehicle. You'll also have to pay the storage fees.
After we've verified your ID/ownership (this will take about an hour), you'll be given a release notice to take to the recovery garage where your vehicle has been stored. You have 15 days from the date of receiving the seizure notice to reclaim your vehicle.
If you weren't driving the vehicle but you are the registered keeper, you'll be sent a letter by recorded delivery telling you about the seizure. You have 15 days from the date the letter was posted to reclaim your vehicle.
The designated police stations in Wiltshire are:
Swindon Gable Cross Police Station
(Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm; Saturday, 8.30am to 1pm)
View on map
Trowbridge Police Station
(Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm; Saturday, 9am to 1pm)
View on map
Salisbury Police Station
(Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm; Saturday, 9am to 1pm)
View on map
The correct documents you need to reclaim your vehicle
When you go to one of the designated police stations you must produce the following documents (originals, not copies) to prove your identiry and get your vehicle released:
V5C (log book in your name)
Photo ID (passport or 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)
- a UK provisional licence – you must be accompanied at the station by a supervisor (someone who is over 21 and who has held a suitable full UK or EU licence for three years or more). The supervisor must also produce their driving licence. If necessary, you'll need to produce your CBT certificate too.
- an EU/EEA photo card driving licence along with a passport or EU/EAA identity card in the same name as that on the licence
- a non-EU/EEA driving licence, along with your international driving permit and an additional form of photo ID, such as a passport or a home country Identification Card in the same name as that on the licence. You must also produce proof of immigration status; this could include a stamp in your passport.
With some exceptions, including some concessions for students on a fixed-term course, drivers may not drive in the UK on a licence issued by a non-EU or EEA country for more than 12 months after their first arrival in the UK. An International Driving Permit is only an international translation of the licence and offers no authority or entitlement to drive in its own right. It must be accompanied by the domestic driving licence to which it refers.
If you've been disqualified in another EU member state or EEA country that disqualification applies in the UK too.
Certificate of motor 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, even if you don’t intend to drive it on a public road.
- a paper certificate
- copies sent by email
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 disclosable convictions
- any relevant medical conditions or disability
- 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 we 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 station.
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.
Motor traders/open or trade insurance
Only the policy holder can produce an open or trade insurance policy to release a seized vehicle. The policy must include the authority for it to be used to release a vehicle seized by the police.
Valid tax certificate
If your vehicle was seized because it was untaxed or registered as SORN but you were driving it on a public road or place, you must produce a valid tax certificate. (The tax certificate will automatically cancel the SORN.)
If you need to prove ownership of the vehicle
If you're not the owner or registered keeper of the vehicle, or don't have the full V5C (log book) in your name, please follow the appropriate guidance:
If you don't have a V5C log book
If you don't have the log book, you'll need you to bring the V5C/2 (Part 10 - green new keeper supplement of the log book) and you'll have to complete a V62 application for a new V5C while at the station. We'll send this to the DVLA on your behalf, along with the V5C, registering the vehicle in your name.
If you're the legal owner, but not the registered keeper
If you don't have the V5C log book or V5C/2 (Part 10 - green new keeper supplement of the log book), we'll need to see verifiable proof of ownership – this could be an official receipt from the garage where you bought the vehicle, or evidence of purchase, such as a bank transfer or bill of sale. It will need to include the details of the previous keeper so we can contact them to verify that you bought the vehicle from them.
You also have to complete a V62 application for a new V5C while at the station. We'll send this to the DVLA on your behalf, registering the vehicle in your name. You'll also need to bring a postal order made payable to 'DVLA SWANSEA' to cover the DVLA set fee of £25. We'll send this to the DVLA with the V62.
If you're a motor trader and the owner of the vehicle at the time of the seizure
If you have the V5C log book or V5C/3 (yellow Motor Traders Supplement), we'll need to see verifiable evidence of trading in relation to the seized vehicle, such as a stock book or similar containing details of purchased vehicles. This must include the date and time of purchase for the seized vehicle (a single piece of paper with the vehicle details written on it will not be acceptable).
If you have the V5C, you'll also have to complete a V62 application form while at the station. We'll send this to the DVLA on your behalf, along with the V5C (minus the V5C/3 yellow Motor Traders Supplement), registering the vehicle in your name.
If you don't have the V5C you'll also need to bring a postal order made payable to 'DVLA SWANSEA' to cover the DVLA set fee of £25. We will send this to the DVLA with the V62 form and the vehicle will be registered in your name.
If the seized vehicle is not registered in the UK
If you're visiting the UK, you'll need to bring the following documents to the police station:
- seizure notice
- proof of ownership of the vehicle
- driving licence
- certificate of insurance
- photo ID (passport or driving licence)
If you've imported or brought a vehicle into the UK and intend to stay for longer than six months, you must go through a process that includes registering and taxing the vehicle with DVLA. Find out the full process of importing a vehicle into the UK.
If your vehicle is seized while you're going through this process, you need to attend one of the designated police stations within 15 days of the date of seizure to tell us that. You'll need to produce all the documents listed above to get your vehicle released.
If someone is reclaiming the vehicle on your behalf
If you're unable to attend the police station in person
As the registered keeper or owner of a seized vehicle you are legally responsible for it and you must attend the pound in person to prove ownership and pay the charges.
This legal requirement will only be waived if you can provide evidence that:
- you're out of the country (for example, a copy of flight tickets)
- you're in custody
- you're in hospital
- you're immobile due to age, injury or disability
- there are compelling medical or compassionate circumstances that stop you being able to attend the pound in person
If any of these circumstances apply to you, you'll need to arrange for another person (third party) to collect the vehicle on your behalf. This third party must attend the police station with the documents listed above, as well as:
- evidence of the valid reason why you can't attend in person
- a letter of authority – 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 your identity and signature
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 station if you're in doubt.
If you can't drive the vehicle yourself
If you can attend the police station to establish your ownership but you can't drive the vehicle yourself, you may nominate someone to collect it on your behalf. Both you and the third party need to go to the police station together.
You need bring photo ID (passport or driving licence).
The third party needs to bring their driving licence and photo ID (passport or driving licence).
Your insurance policy must cover the third party to drive the seized vehicle, this isn't covered by an 'allowed to drive other vehicles not owned by them' extension on the third party's insurance policy.
Payment of charges
You can find full details about the statutory charges you'll have to pay 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.
Please note, the daily storage charges start from midday on the next working day after the vehicle was seized.
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 recovery depot 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
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.
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.
Things to be aware of
Bring a set of keys, in case the driver (if you weren't the driver) didn't leave the keys in the vehicle.
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.