The scrap vehicle industry plays a crucial environmental role by ensuring that old, unwanted cars, vans and motorcycles are taken off the road and disposed of in a responsible (and legal) way.

However, there’s a darker side to this business – stolen vehicles will occasionally find their way into scrap yards up and down the country. Of course, we try to remain as vigilant as we can but sometimes the odd vehicle may slip through the net.

Our legal requirement to ensure legitimacy

The law is strict when it comes to scrapping and depolluting a car and there are numerous rules and regulations that we must follow. Regarding the actual buying process itself, here is a brief summary of the rules we are legally required to follow:

Photographic ID

In order to accept a car for processing, we MUST see a valid photographic ID from the customer. This is to ensure that the person scrapping the car is who they say they are.

Bear in mind that the V5 (logbook) is not considered proof of ownership – this is stated on the logbook itself. It’s also not required when selling a vehicle either. In other words, you can legally scrap a car without a logbook. This is why seeing a photographic ID is so very important.

Verification of address

Alongside the photographic ID, the customer must also provide proof of their address. This can include a photo card driving licence or a passport together with a bank statement or recent utility bill.

Method of payment

This 3rd layer of verification is yet another crucial aspect. Regardless of the method of payment (e.g. cheque or bank transfer), it MUST match the name on the ID we are shown.

Co-operating with the police

As you’d expect, responsible scrap car buyers have a legal obligation to follow the correct procedure if they are made aware that they have inadvertently received a stolen vehicle. In other words, if a member of the public tells us about a stolen car or van, we not only advise but actively encourage them to notify the police immediately.

If or when the police contact us, we are legally obliged to provide them with the ID of the person who sold us the vehicle, how payment was made (by law, we cannot pay them in cash) together with any other relevant information that we have, including copies of all the ID verification we were shown by the person scrapping the vehicle.


It goes without saying that, due to the Data Protection Act, we can’t divulge any of the information about the person who sold us the vehicle to anyone else other than the police, nor can we provide any ID verfication copies we hold. As such, if you have been affected by this type of crime, you must continue to liaise with the police directly to resolve any issues you have and also to follow up on how things are progressing with the investigation.


It’s no secret that the scrap car and metal recycling industry hasn’t always had the best reputation. Having said that, the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013 has made a significant improvement to how metal recycling is conducted and has gone a long way in helping to clean up our industry. As a legitimate scrap car dealer, Ace Car Breakers Ltd. are also required to hold both a valid ATF and Waste Transfer Licence.

We always do the very best we can to ensure that we are buying vehicles from legitimate sources; not just for the customer’s peace of mind, but because we also care a great deal about our reputation as a trusted, local business. However, the safeguards we’ve written about in this post are not 100% foolproof and if an incident should occur, we will ALWAYS cooperate fully with the police.

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