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If you have reported your vehicle as stolen, the police will make every effort to get it back for you. The information below is to tell you what will happen if we find it and what action you must take.

What happens when police locate your stolen vehicle?

On discovery of your vehicle, we will make immediate arrangements for our contracted recovery operator to remove it to safekeeping on behalf of you/your insurer (depending on your policy).

All police contracted recovery operators are security vetted, are required to have appropriate expertise, equipment and meet specified performance targets, including attendance times.

The immediate removal is important to protect your vehicle from further theft, vandalism, total loss or damage. In addition, removal of your vehicle ensures it cannot be used for other criminal purposes or from being an obstruction or danger to other members of the public and prevents your vehicle from being driven whilst in a possible dangerous condition. Safe removal means that we can also subject it to a forensic examination in an effort to identify the person who took it and bring them to justice.

The Road Traffic Regulation (NI) Order 1997 gives Police powers to arrange for the removal of vehicles from public roads (Article 48) and permits recovery of reasonable costs from you or your insurer (Article 54).

How to collect your vehicle

As soon as your vehicle has been recovered, you will be informed where it is being kept. You should inform your insurer, if it is appropriate for you to do so under the terms of your insurance policy. To collect your vehicle, you or your insurer will have to pay charges due to the Chief Constable, to the recovery operator. This is to meet the costs of removal and storage. Storage charges become payable the day after you are informed the vehicle is available for collection. The charges for removal and storage are in line with the Home Office Matrix Charges and are deemed to be fair and reasonable. 

What to do if you locate your stolen vehicle?

If, before we find and remove your vehicle, you locate it yourself and arrange its removal, you must do so at your own risk. You could be liable if it is unsafe or unroadworthy. We therefore recommend that you leave the vehicle where it is and inform us without delay. If you do take charge of it, you should arrange a comprehensive check by a qualified garage or mechanic of your choice and at your expense, before it is driven. Once you have taken charge of the vehicle, the Police Service of Northern Ireland accepts no further responsibility for it or its contents and will be unable to take further action to identify the person who took it.

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