Retrieving your car from the pound
My car has been impounded. How do I get it back?
You should have been given a form number 3708 when the car was seized by the police, or you may have received it by post. It is imperative that you claim your car (in other words get in touch and prove your ownership) within seven days of impoundment, or the date of the letter, and you must remove it from the pound by the 14th day. If you haven't been told where it is phone 101; this is the police non-emergency number. They should be able to tell you.
If it was seized in the london area text TRACE followed by your car registration number to 66663 and you should get a text back with it's location. Alternatively NSL may be able to tell you; their number is 0343 224 1999.
You must then go to the pound with all the necessary documents.
Which documents will I need to produce?
Proof that you own the car. The registration document (VC 5) will suffice.
If you have recently bought the car and haven't got a VC5 yet you will need to produce the tear-off new keeper supplement and a bill of sale from the previous owner. The staff at the pound may wish to contact the previous owner to confirm that you have bought it.
Proof of your identity. Photo ID will normally be required, such as a driving licence or passport. In addition you will need proof of your current address such as two recent utility bills.
Your driving licence. This must show that you are licensed to drive the class of vehicle that your car belongs in. In other words, if the car has a manual gearbox your licence must cover that, and not be for cars with automatic gearboxes only.
A certificate of insurance. A printout of a policy that you have bought online may be accepted if it has been registered on the Motor Insurance Database but this can sometimes take several days to update. To be on the safe side take your mobile phone so that you can show the staff the email you have received from the insurance company, containing a link to the policy. Please remember that short-term policies for less than 30 days will not be accepted.
An MOT certificate. If you do not have one you need to make an appointment with a nearby testing station, and take the car straight there after you have collected it.
Payment for the fees. Before the car can be released you will have to pay for the collection and daily storage charges. If the car isn't taxed you will also have to leave a deposit against the cost of this. Read more here about the cost of getting a car released.
If for some reason you cannot produce any of these documents immediately you should contact the pound as soon as possible to explain the situation.
I am a learner driver. Can I still collect the car?
You can but you will need to be accompanied by someone over 21 who has had a minimum of three years driving experience. This person must produce a current driving licence. You will need to make sure that the car carries L plates. Some, but not all, pounds have these in stock so you may be able to buy them if necessary.
do I have to collect the car myself?
You are normally required to collect the car in person except under exceptional circumstances. There is more information here about how your car can be collected by another person.
What if my car is damages, or won't start?
You will not normally be allowed to carry out repairs to the car and strictly speaking you shouldn't jump start it either but the staff may permit this at their discretion.
If you still can't get it to start, or it is too damaged to drive away, it can only be collected by a properly trained and insured recovery operator who has to work within very strict guidelines. The staff at the pound will not be able to recommend one but they may be able to suggest some companies that carry out this kind of work.
If your car is collected in this way it cannot be put onto a public highway until it is taxed and insured, and in a safe condition.
Please remember ...
It is important to remain calm and courteous at all times – remember that the staff at the pound are only doing their jobs, and if you are patient and cooperative towards them you are far more likely to find them helpful rather than obstructive. Also please remember that the exact process may vary slightly from one police authority to another so you should view the above as a general guide only.