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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: carrying out a distraint: immediate removal of goods

  • the defaulter does not wish to take advantage of a WP agreement, or will not sign and accept the terms
  • the nature of the case warrants immediate removal, for example if you feel the goods are at risk.

In these circumstances telephone the higher debt manager to advise him of your intentions.

You must always complete the removal on the same day.

You must not remove distrained goods yourself. It is therefore advisable in advance to establish contact with your auctioneer who will be able to attend and organise removal without notice.

In practice the number of immediate removals is few. If you are acting alone and you do have to leave the premises for any reason, even briefly, you must make sure that you cannot be accused of abandoning the distraint.

If you are accompanied the other person can remain on the defaulter’s premises while you make arrangements for a removal van or other necessary equipment (see close possession DMBM655910).

Make it quite clear to the debtor that you are not abandoning the distraint, return as soon as possible to complete your action and make a note of this in your report.

Motor vehicles

If you are concerned that a motor vehicle that you have seized may be removed before you can take it into physical possession, you may immobilise it (for example by clamping or by removing the keys) until you can remove it.