Driver had car impounded despite doing nothing wrong

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 08:44
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Asim Tahraf

Student, Asim Tahraf bought a pair of customised number plates in celebration of graduating from Aston University in Birmingham. As he was required to do, he checked that the plates were registered with both the DVLA and his insurer, and was assured that he was OK to drive the vehicle.

As a consequence of those assurances, Asim took his car out for the first time with the registration, E17 GNR fixed to the car. Within minutes, he was pulled over by the police.

Asim said that initially, he didn’t feel worried as he knew the car was fully insured and legitimate. However, the police said that his number plates do not exist!

Asim said: “I was completely devastated, it was a total nightmare. I’ve been left with points on my licence over an admin error.”

To make matters worse, he was told he needed to reclaim his car from the police station and pay £175, or the car would be scrapped.

Apparently, according to Mr Tahraf’s insurer, Elephant, it can take up to 7 days for the police to update their databases. “The Motor Insurers Database was also notified, but it can take up to seven working days for the MID to update their records with this new information and we have no control over this process.”

A spokesman for the West Midlands Police said: “The car was seized for having no insurance after a number plate on the vehicle was not registered on police systems at the time the driver was stopped.

“This was done lawfully and in accordance with S165 (a) Road Traffic Act 1988.”

When buying and registering a customised number plate, it seems sensible to wait a week before taking the car onto the road.


  1. The police officers that had pulled me over had said to me that it didn’t matter if i had my documents with me as they have to go by their database and that i could easily have a cover note by taking out an insurance policy and then cancelling it…?

    Just read the section they stated and Leonard is correct that it doesn’t mention anything about databases and i should have the right to provide documentation. On my seizure form it states that i didnt claim i was insured and i didnt offer to pull up docs, why would i do this if i was insured? Lies. Thank god she was wearing a bodycam. I have all the proof from insurance and DVLA and they are now ignoring my emails for an appeal.

    I will be pulling these points up in court. Thank you.

  2. There has to be more to this story than reported.
    The police statement is “this was done lawfully…” patently incorrect. I am sure that the 1988 RTA did not mention insurance being “registered on police systems”.
    Info from still says:-
    If a police officer asks you to, you must be able to show:
    your driving licence
    a valid insurance certificate
    a valid MOT certificate (if your vehicle needs one)
    If you don’t have the documents with you at the time, you may be asked to take them to a police station within 7 days.

    So all he had to do was get (print off?) a paper certificate and take it to a police station. He may well have been asked to similar for the number plates, but that’s not in the police statement.

  3. What a load of rubbish:-
    1. West Midlands Police – “The car was seized for having no insurance” – Fact – the car was insured, albeit the systems used by the police were not up to date!
    2. “When buying and registering a customised number plate, it seems sensible to wait a week before taking the car onto the road.” – I have searched but cannot find this advice on the DVLA number plate auction site, and who can afford to not use their car for a week?

    I was stopped for a similar reason but luckily by a sensible policeman who rang the insurance company on his own personal telephone so that I could get confirmation, hands free, that the car was indeed insured. Thank God for common sense – just a shame for Mr Tahraf that is is not shared across the “forces”

  4. This is just crazy!

    If this had been me i’d of taken it straight to court as the driver had done nothing wrong. The vehicle itself was insured and if you have the retention certificate and /or the official documentation to allow you to make up the plates then the fault/blame lies with the system not updating.

    Either that or there is more to this story than what has been reported.

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