Having one’s motorcycle stolen is stressful and frustrating, but for a lucky few, police will successfully track down and recover their motorbikes.

However, the relief felt upon finding out one’s bike is in one piece is often followed with more frustration: In many cases, police will levy a £150 recovery fee and a daily storage fee of £10. So if, for example, you take a week to pick up your ride, the final bill would be £220.

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Since when are police allowed to do this?

Under "Government, The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 2008" legislation, police forces are permitted to charge people for recovering and storing their stolen motorbikes.


Will my insurance cover it?

Possibly. You should read the terms and conditions of your policy to see if such fees can be recouped. Be aware, however, by no means do all insurers include this.


Are there any exceptions?

Yes - but not very often. If your motorcycle was seized under PACE (the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) as part of an investigation, you won't be charged any fees.

The police may not make it obvious that your motorcycle has been seized under PACE, so do ask for clarification. In many cases police consider the matter closed once the bike is recovered, precluding any further investigation - leaving you with the recovery and storage fees to pay.


Can I choose not to have it recovered?

After discovering your bike has been stolen, you can tell the police not to recover your machine unless it is seized under PACE, thereby avoiding recovery and storage fees. Naturally, this only makes sense for very low value motorbikes, or those that have been badly damaged.

Police should also give you the option of recovering the motorbike yourself. But if the police recover it, the clock is ticking and the fees are accumulating. If the bike can be ridden, it’s important to collect it as soon as possible. The police will stay with the machine for a reasonable amount of time to prevent it being stolen. However, with police forces currently so hard pressed for resources, they may not wait very long.


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