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 the driver of the vehicle isn't the owner, then the registered owner/keeper will also have received a similar notice by post.

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 the police station specified on the seizure notice to reclaim your vehicle or it may be sold or scrapped. 

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 the seizure notice says that the documents have to be produced at Operation Wolverine, then you must contact Operation Wolverine and make an appointment:

Eccles Police Station
Gorton Street
Eccles
Greater Manchester
M30 7LZ

Email: Operation Wolverine 

Phone: 0161 856 5209 

In some cases enquiry counter staff may also direct you to contact Operation Wolverine.

After your documents have been recorded at the relevant police station or by Operation Wolverine we'll tell the pound who the vehicle can be released to. Take the seizure notice and your proof of identity documents to the pound.

Pounds won't accept a seizure notice unless documents have been produced at a police station or permission has been given by Operation Wolverine.

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, 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

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 Greater Manchester 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. 

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 register for a V5C before you can collect your vehicle.  

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.

Pounds will be open on Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.

Acceptable methods of payment vary but usually the following are accepted:

  • cash (British currency only)
  • Visa card
  • MasterCard
  • Maestro card
  • Solo card

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.