Your vehicle has been taken by
bailiffs without warning
When you called police to report your vehicle
stolen, they should have told you the name of the
bailiff company that has taken it.
You could well be a victim of an
If you are the new owner of the vehicle and the
PCN was incurred before you bought it, then you
telephone the bailiff company and record the call.
You need the recording because if the vehicle is
not being returned or the bailiff company or the
council is resisting your claim for your vehicle
then you make an
emergency application to the court to recover
the vehicle. There is a £400 court fee for this but
you can reclaim it from the council who then
recovers it from the bailiff company.
It is the practice of many London councils to
clamp or confiscate vehicles on the street but it
is actually unlawful. Under the
Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 you can claim redress (section 5) and Interim damages (section 4) from the authority who gave permission to a bailiff company to take your vehicle in respect of an unpaid debt without complying with enforcement regulations.
In any event, a levy cannot be placed over a
vehicle retrospectively after clamping or removal:
Evans v South Ribble Borough Council El9921 QB
757 or to be clamped or removed in your
Khazanchi & Anor v Faircharm Investments Ltd
& Ors  EWCA Civ 471.
You may a victim of
bailiff vigilantism where bailiff companies go
round in ANPR vans crawling neighbourhoods looking
for vehicles with unpaid PCNs and yours received a
'hit' so they took it using a street lifter.
This is regardless of the vehicle having had a
change of keeper or address after the date the PCN
was issued. This proves the bailiff is distraining the vehicle instead of looking for the debtor on order to make a profit for the company.
Find out from the bailiff company what the PCN
number is, and the name of the council that issued
it and ask the DATE the PCN was issued. This is in
case the penalty was incurred by a previous owner,
and if so you are not liable for the penalty and
you can have your vehicle back on production of the
V5C document or a
sworn affidavit proving what date you acquired
If you have recently moved or bought a car
recently and the disappearance of your car is over
an unpaid PCN then the council may be in breach of
Part 75.7(7) of the Civil Procedure Rules which
requires the authority to reissue the warrant by
filing a request with the Traffic Enforcement
Centre if the address of the debtor has changed
since the issue of the original warrant. Bailiff
companies often take it upon themselves to "trace"
debtors and use ANPR without telling the authority
to re-issue the warrant under Part 75.7(7) if it
wants to continue enforcement. Also affirmed in
paragraph 28 of
complaint number 12 005 084 by the Local
Government Ombudsman against London Borough of
Redbridge and you can make a formal complaint and
claim damages and compensation, see paragraph
Telephone the Traffic Enforcement Centre (the
TEC) on 01604 619450 and say you want to appeal
against the PCN. This is called an "out of time
Statutory Declaration", or a "late appeal" or
If you were unaware a PCN had been issued then
you make a Statutory Declaration and telephone the
council saying you are appealing the PCN because
you were unaware it had been issued and you ask for
the vehicle to be returned from where it was
If you have no grounds to appeal against the
original PCN then see if the bailiff has an
invalid levy or has no levy over it at all,
then you still have a right to recover the vehicle
Sample: Formal Complaint letter
and letter before action to the council to recover your disbursements and
expenses and claim compensation for the unlawful
deprivation of the use of your vehicle.
Alternatively, you can ask the council or creditor to return your vehicle in return for a reduced payment of damages accrued so far, or your damages will continue to accrue daily until the claim has been settled. This is sometimes called a "caulderbank" offer - an offer to settle to limit the damages you will claim and prevent further damages accruing. This article explains more about what damages you can claim.
Ignore any reply you get from the bailiff
company, it will be their standard legalistic
excuse letter. Post it on the
forums if you would like it explained.
If your formal complaint is not resolved or you are palmed off with essays or a chronological list of events and telephone conversations or you are required to repeat your complaint with a "stage 2" complaint
then it proves the your complaint
COULD have been solved otherwise you would have a Final Resolution. You can now exit the complaints procedure and start a claim in the county court.
Sample: Claim Particulars for a
N1 - recover your disbursements and expenses
from the council in the Small Claims Court.
Or you can make a complaint to the Local
Government Ombudsman. Use the Formal Complaint
letter above as a starting point.