Reclaiming Trucks and Loads Seized by UK authorities

Specialist UK lawyers reclaiming trucks and loads seized by UK customs

Our specialist UK transport lawyers have years of experience in reclaiming trucks and loads seized by the UK Border Force, HMRC and police. We understand how damaging it can be for your transport business to have a vehicle or load impounded. We also recognise how frustrating and confusing it can be to deal with the UK customs authorities. Our transport lawyers can help.

Our clients include:

  • Multinational haulage and logistics companies
  • Freight forwarders
  • Small fleet operators
  • Haulage and groupage transport companies


Why has your truck and load been impounded?

There are many reasons your vehicle or load can be detained by UK customs. These include:

Illegal contraband

If illegal contraband is found in your vehicle during an inspection, your vehicle and any contraband found can be seized. Examples of illegal contraband include firearms and controlled drugs.

Unpaid excise duty

HMRC can also seize your vehicle if they believe that it is carrying goods to which excise duty is liable, and that duty has not been paid. They will also seize your vehicle if excise goods are being transported without the proper paperwork. This usually applies to undeclared cigarettes, alcohol and tobacco.

Criminal offences

The UK Border Force, police and tax authorities can seize any property as evidence, including vehicles and loads, if they believe that a criminal offence may have been committed by either you or your driver. Your driver can also be arrested and detained for questioning.

Outstanding fines

If you have outstanding court fines or civil penalties that you have not yet paid, the UK authorities can detain your vehicle until these financial penalties are settled. These include financial penalties for the carriage of clandestine entrants (transporting illegal migrants), and failure to pay road user levy.


Reclaiming an impounded truck or load

At Rothera Sharp, our road transport lawyers are specialists in reclaiming trucks and loads on behalf of European transport operators. We can:

  • Make urgent representations to the UK Border Force on behalf of the owner of the vehicle or load
  • Prepare and submit written representations seeking the return of the vehicle and trailer and providing supporting evidence
  • Challenge the lawfulness of the seizure at Condemnation Proceedings in the Magistrates Courts
  • Appeal a refusal to return a vehicle to the Tax Tribunal


We also assist European operators with other areas of transport law, including:

Speak to a transport lawyer on 0115 910 6218 for a free initial consultation, or email us at