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What Do I do if My Vehicle is Seized by Border Force? How SBC Can Help Recover Your Impounded Vehicle

At Smith Bowyer Clarke Road transport Lawyers, we have a high success rate in securing the release and return of seized trucks and vehicles. If your vehicle has been seized, call our team today on 01332 987420 for free initial advice on whether we can help.


What to do if a Vehicle or Goods have been seized by Border Force

  1. If you want your goods to be returned and agree that the seizure was legal, you need to make a restoration request.
  2. If you do not agree the seizure of your goods was legal, you will need to begin condemnation proceedings


When can I make a restoration request?

If your vehicle has been seized for:

  • Alcohol or tobacco
  • Controlled drugs or illicit goods such as firearms
  • Anything that is banned or restricted in the UK
  • Any goods which you owe duty or tax on
  • Outstanding Civil Penalties for Clandestine Entrants
  • Any other reason

Our specialist transport lawyers can help you apply for your vehicle to be returned to you (restored). A restoration request can be made even if you agree that customs was right to take the goods- this means you can still get your things back if the request is accepted.


What if it was just goods that were seized?

This also requires a restoration application- even if your vehicle was not seized. A restoration request can be made even if you agree that customs was right to take the goods- this means you can still get your things back if the request is accepted.


What are the time limits?

An application for the return of a vehicle must be made within 28 days of the seizure,  especially if you dispute the lawfulness of the seizure.  Your things are usually destroyed or sold, so don’t wait! The goods can be destroyed or sold without the consent of the owner or operator.

  • If the seized goods are perishable it is likely they will be destroyed straight away. This will happen with goods such as tobacco or food.
  • If the seized goods are not perishable, you have 28 days before they are sold or destroyed to make the restoration request. This will happen with goods such as vehicles and spirits.


What if I have missed the 28-day deadline?

It’s not too late: a restoration request can still be made. If your goods have been destroyed or sold, you may still be able to get compensation.


What is the process?

To apply for restoration, you must write a letter to Border Force. This must be sent to the National Post Seizure Unit. This letter must include:

  • The seizure reference number on the notice you got from customs
  • Your name and address
  • A list of the things you want back, this must be detailed and include information such as quantities and brands.
  • You must produce proof of ownership- for a vehicle there must be proof of purchase.
  • You must also provide anything else that supports your request of restoration

If you do not get the goods restored, you do not get compensation or you disagree with the fee for getting your things back, you can ask for a review of the decision.

Should I get legal advice?

At Smith Bowyer Clarke we regularly deal with restoration requests. We can help you identify all the documents that you have that support your request for restoration as no application is the same.

We can help with restoration requests for:

  • Goods
  • Personal vehicles
  • HGVs
  • PSVs

We regularly deal with requests to review the restoration decision. We can help you put forwards the best arguments for you. Call out team on 01332 987420

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