Found this on a police website:
What happens if I do not contact the recovery operator?
If the police use their powers to recover a vehicle and there is no contact from its owner or last known keeper within seven days of his being notified of its recovery, the police will normally authorise the recovery operator to dispose of it. This can be by sale or by scrapping it. Any profit from the sale is payable to the owner if claimed within a year. A full audit trail for each vehicle recovered is maintained.
I do not want to reclaim my vehicle; do I still have to pay?
If the police used their powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act to remove your vehicle they are entitled to recover the statutory fees.
If you do not reclaim your vehicle, you may lose your claim to its load, that is any items you had in it, on it, or attached to it. The only items from the load that you can always have back, without payment, are the "essentials of life". These are:
any medicines and medical equipment
financial items such as cash, credit cards, cheque books, pension or benefit books
keys, such as house or shop keys
immediately required outer clothing such as a raincoat or jumper
High value items which you may have had in your vehicle are not included.
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