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Can someone scrap my car without my permission?

Selling someone else’s property against their consent is considered a crime. If you’re pondering the question ‘can someone scrap my car against my permission?’, you might discover some peace of mind here.

The Scrap Dealers Act 2013

This law was passed in 2013 in a bid to hinder car crime and cut back on disreputable scrap dealers conducting questionable transactions. Before the passing of this law, it was common practice to enter a battle of wills with your local breaker yard and haggle over details from collection costs to your total payment. Scrapping your car today isn’t such a difficult process, with Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) recycling your vehicle safely and fairly. These sites are regulated by government laws put in place to protect both the public and the yards.

If you don’t have a V5 registration document proving you’re the car’s owner, you can still arrange for your car to be scrapped. However, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and where you live. A driving licence or passport are both suitable for personal identification and a recent utility bill is acceptable to prove your address.

These documents aren’t just shown briefly to the ATFs and forgotten. Copies of the documents are held on file by the facility for a period of up to three years. If someone were to scrap your vehicle without your consent, a clear record of who they were and where they resided would be present, making them simple to track down.

If this wasn’t deterrent enough to criminals seeking to scrap your car and reap the rewards, the Scrap Dealers Act also stipulates that ATFs can’t pay out for vehicles disposed of in cash. A bank transfer or cheque are the only acceptable forms of payment, both of which leave a trail that can be easily traced by the authorities if a theft occurs.

Scrapping a car without its keys

If someone attempted to scrap your vehicle without your permission and didn’t possess your car keys, they’d be requested to present a V5 registration document, sometimes referred to as a logbook, showing they were the registered keeper of the vehicle. If they couldn’t provide this documentation, they’d be asked to show proof of purchase for the vehicle with their name on it. These documents would also need to be fully backed up with photo ID and proof of address.

HPI checks

In some circumstances, such as missing keys or V5 registration documents, it’s necessary for a scrap yard to conduct a Hire Purchase Information (HPI) check, which they’ll typically charge for.

This is a comprehensive vehicle history check. Although HPI checks do make sure there are no outstanding finance agreements attached to a vehicle, they also reveal if cars have been stolen or written off - among other specific circumstances.

When proof of ownership is in doubt, an HPI check can be carried out by the scrap yard prior to scrapping and the release of payment. If your car has been registered as stolen, the ATF will be alerted before any illegal transaction can take place.

If proof of identification can’t be supplied to a scrap yard, then no payment will be forthcoming so it’s never in the interests of someone to scrap a car without permission if they’re hoping to profit from the sale.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

ATF stands for ‘Authorised Treatment Facility’ - another name for a scrap yard, breaker’s yard or vehicle dismantler that meets with strict government guidelines relating to the handling of scrap cars.

When a car is no longer roadworthy, it still has some value. An Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will pay you the scrap value of your car, which could be well over a hundred pounds, depending on the model.

No. It’s important that your car is free of rubbish and personal belongings - as our scrap partners are not equipped to deal with anything other than the car.

You can get in touch with your insurance company and cancel your cover after your car has been collected. If you cancel your insurance before collection, you’ll be breaking the law if you drive the car on a public road. -

Our collection agents work contact-free and all payments are handled online. When it is required for you to show photographic ID simply put this down and our collection driver can then assess and record the information without touch.

Yes. Vehicle tax is no longer transferable from owner to owner – so, if you’re scrapping your car, we recommend that you get in touch with the DVLA soon after collection to reclaim any tax that may be owed.

Someone else can scrap your car for you but they must take it to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) and hand over all appropriate paperwork for it to be done legally.

It’s illegal to sell a car with outstanding finance, so before you scrap a car you need to have paid off the outstanding finance amount. Technically, a car with outstanding finance is the lender’s property, not yours.

When a car is no longer roadworthy and needs to be scrapped, there’s probably a scrap dealer near you who will collect the car and pay you money for this. It’s easy to find a nearby scrapyard.