Under Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 there are several powers the police may use to seize vehicles.
The North Yorkshire Recovery Scheme is managed and run by the AA
Why was my vehicle seized?
Vehicles can be seized for the following reasons:
Careless and Antisocial Driving – An initial warning will be given on the first offence, further offences will result in the vehicle being seized.
Unlicensed drivers – If a driving licence isn’t produced to an officer upon request, and the officer has reasonable grounds for believing a motor vehicle is or was being driven by the person other than in accordance with a driving licence for that class of vehicle, the vehicle will be seized.
Uninsured drivers – If insurance is not/cannot be produced to an officer upon request, and the officer has reasonable grounds for believing the vehicle is or was being driven without a valid certificate of insurance to cover its use, the vehicle will be seized. The onus is on the driver to prove they are insured to drive the vehicle.
Drivers who fail to stop – If an officer requests a vehicle to stop and the driver fails to stop, fails to stop long enough or stops and makes off on foot, the vehicle will be seized.
Obstruction or Dangerous to other road users – An officer will give the driver a reasonable time to remove a vehicle if it is causing an obstruction. If the vehicle is not moved, it will be seized.
For use as evidence – Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) police can recover any evidence at a crime scene.
Road tax offences – North Yorkshire Police hold DVLA devolved powers to seize vehicles that do not hold road tax. Details of how to reclaim the vehicle are explained in the leaflet issued at the scene.
Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) – DVLA powers allow officers to seize vehicles seen driven on a road that have been declared as SORN.
Foreign-registered vehicles (FRVs) – The powers also allow officers to seize FRVs when they have been driven on a publically maintained road and have either:
- Been in the UK for longer than 6 months (visiting, on holiday, etc.).
- Or if the driver/owner is a resident in the UK, then the 6 months does not apply and the vehicle must be registered, taxed and insured in the UK before it can be driven. There may be exemption to this in the case of foreign students.
Stolen vehicles – When a stolen motor vehicle is located attempts will be made to notify the owner. If they unable to attend in a reasonable time recovery will be requested by North Yorkshire Police. This is to facilitate examination of the vehicle. If the vehicle is left there is a risk that it may be re-stolen, vandalised or set on fire, creating additional costs. The vehicle may also be causing an obstruction or be insecure.
What do I do when my vehicle has been seized?
If your vehicle was seized because the driver was uninsured, unlicensed or driving in an antisocial manner at the time of the seizure, the officer will have given you a seizure notice detailing the requirements of the relevant legislation. This notice, along with all relevant documents, should be taken to a police station within 7 days of the seizure notice. The vehicle should be claimed back within 14 working days.
If you do not want your vehicle back, you may be obligated to pay the recovery fee. Property from within the vehicle will be kept for 3 months before been disposed of.
If you do not contact the recovery operator within 7 days of recovery, the police will authorise the recovery operator to dispose of the vehicle. This may be by sale or by scrap. A full audit trail is maintained throughout its stay at the recovery operatory, from recovery to ultimate disposal.
How much will it cost?
The government sets the statutory recovery fee and the current charges are scenario based, starting at £150 (vehicle laden on road, upright and not substantially damaged or any two wheeled vehicles) rising to £6000 (vehicle exceeding 18 tonnes MAM, off road, either not upright, substantially damaged or both). This includes storage until midday of the following day.
If you fail to collect your vehicle, there will be further charges for each period of 24 hours or part thereof, based on the size of the vehicle;
- £10 – Two wheeled Vehicles
- £20 – Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes
- £35 – Vehicle exceeding 18 tonnes MAM.
If your vehicle is recovered for forensic elimination purposes only, you will not have to pay for its recovery or storage. However, if the vehicle is recovered under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, North Yorkshire Police will only be responsible for any costs if the incident is NFA’d (No Further Actioned).
If you have only third party insurance, please be aware that your insurance company may not pay for the recovery costs.
Frequently asked questions
Please contact us on the following:
Telephone: 01609 643230 between 8am and 4 pm Monday – Friday
Address: Vehicle Recovery Unit, North Yorkshire Police, Vale House, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 3BX.