Seized or recovered vehicles

We have the power to seize/recover vehicles under a number of different circumstances

Listed below are the different types of vehicle seizures/removals we carry out ably assisted by a network of vehicle recovery agents.

If the vehicle is stolen

When a stolen vehicle is found it will be recovered to prevent it being re-stolen, damaged, set on fire or used to commit other crime.  The vehicle may also have been left in a dangerous place where it could injure or obstruct members of the public.

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

Whilst the vehicle is in our care our Crime Scene Investigators may need/take the opportunity to examine the vehicle for fingerprints and other forensic checks to assist with any investigation before the vehicle is released. We may also need you to provide a key to facilitate this if the vehicle is found without keys and locked. 

The owner of the vehicle or registered keeper will need to pay the vehicle recovery fees and any storage charges. The vehicle will be held for 14 days before being disposed of.

Using a Vehicle in an anti-social manner/careless driving

The vehicle may be seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

A person committing this offence whilst using the vehicle in an anti-social manner is liable to prosecution for the offence AND may be warned that the vehicle used in the offence (or another vehicle they use) could be seized if they commit another such offence.  If it is not practical to give a warning a vehicle may be seized without one under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The registered keeper will need to pay for the vehicle recovery fee and any storage charges.

The vehicle will be held for 14 days before being disposed of.

If the vehicle has been seized for no Insurance or driving otherwise than in accordance with a driving licence/no licence

Police officers have the power to seize a vehicle if they have a reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle was, or had been, used whilst uninsured or by a driver who did not hold, or did not comply with the conditions for holding, a valid driving licence for that type of vehicle.

Full guidance is available here.

If the vehicle has been abandoned

Although the removal of abandoned vehicles does not sit with the Police but the local authority, a vehicle which has been abandoned and reported to us which is not deemed to be causing an obstruction or danger may be seized and removed under section 99 of the 1984 Road Traffic Act.

If your vehicle isn't where you left it and the police do not have it, then the local council may have removed it. 

The owner of the vehicle or registered keeper will need to pay the vehicle recovery fees and any storage charges.

The vehicle will be held for 14 days before being disposed of.

The above may also apply to those vehicles that have been requested to stop by a uniformed officer and when requested to do so have failed to stop and/or the driver has subsequently made off.  The vehicle may be classed as abandoned.

If the vehicle has been causing an obstruction or danger

If a vehicle is deemed to be causing an obstruction or danger on the highway it may be removed under section 99 of the 1984 Road Traffic Act.  The owner of the vehicle or registered keeper will need to attend at the recovery agents and pay the vehicle recovery fee and any storage charges.

The vehicle will be held for 14 days before being disposed of.

Please note: Attending officers will give the driver reasonable time to remove their vehicle if it is causing an obstruction; if not the vehicle will be recovered.

Seized For Evidence

If it is believed that a vehicle has been used in a crime or it is required for evidential purposes it can be seized under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984(PACE) and can be retained until the officer has completed their investigations. No access to the vehicle will be allowed during this time.

The Police will be responsible for the recovery costs of the vehicle. Once the vehicle is released if it is not collected within 24 hours then the storage costs become the responsibility of the owner.

Road Tax Offences

We may seize a vehicle on behalf of the DVLA if a road fund licence is shown as being 2 months and 1 day overdue or if seen to be driven on a road and have been declared as SORN.  The release of these vehicles is dealt with by the recovery agent and you should contact them directly if you require details of how to retrieve the vehicle.

The powers also allow an officer to seize foreign-registered vehicles (FRV’s) when they have been driven on a publicly maintained road and have either

Been in the UK for longer than 6 months

Or

The driver/owner is a resident in the UK.  The 6 months rule does not apply and the vehicle must be registered, taxed and insured on the UK before it can be driven.  There may be exemptions to this in the case of foreign students.