Reclaiming Trucks and Loads Seized by UK authorities

Specialist UK lawyers reclaiming trucks and loads seized by the UK customs authorities

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 a 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 a vehicle and load can be detained when entering the UK.

  • If illegal contraband is discovered in a truck or trailer entering the UK, the UK customs authorities can seize and impound the vehicle and load. Examples of illegal contraband include firearms and controlled drugs.
  • A vehicle can also be seized if it is transporting goods to which excise duty is liable, and that duty has not been paid, or if excise goods are being transported without the proper paperwork. This typically applies to undeclared cigarettes, alcohol and tobacco.
  • If the UK Border Force, police or HMRC believe that a criminal offence has been committed by either the driver or the transporter, they can seize the vehicle and load as evidence, and may arrest the driver.
  • A truck and load can be seized if it is operated by a company with outstanding court fines or civil penalties that have not been paid. These include financial penalties for the carriage of clandestine entrants (transporting illegal immigrants), 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, or email us at