Abandoned vehicles

Abandoned damaged car full of rubbish.

Abandoned vehicles are an eyesore and can encourage vandalism and arson, endangering lives, property and the environment. The Council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles from the highway and other public areas.

How do I tell if a vehicle has been abandoned?

The Council can only deal with abandoned vehicles. The following criteria may help you determine whether a vehicle is abandoned:

  • it has been parked in the same position for some time;
  • there is no apparent owner;
  • it could be in poor condition (broken windows, flat tyres, damaged panels etc.);
  • it may be unlocked.

If the vehicle meets one or more of these criteria, it may be abandoned and should be reported for investigation.

Reporting an abandoned vehicle

Report abandoned vehicle

When you report an abandoned vehicle, give as much of the following information as possible:

  • its location (be as accurate as possible);
  • how long it has been left there;
  • its make, model and colour;
  • its registration number; and
  • its condition (e.g. burnt out, broken windows, flat tyres etc.)

Once a vehicle has been reported, we will visit the site and inspect it. If we consider it to be abandoned and it is either on the public highway, or in a public place, we will remove it and take it for storage. A notice will then be sent to the registered keeper, giving them 7 days in which to claim ownership. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within this period it will be disposed of.

Reclaiming an abandoned vehicle

If you receive notice that the Council has removed your vehicle, phone: 01422 288002, as soon as possible. To reclaim your vehicle you will need to produce the registration document V5 (log book). This shows us that you are the registered keeper. You will also need to pay the necessary removal and storage fees.

Penalties for abandoning a vehicle

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence. The Council can prosecute the last registered keeper for this offence. The penalty, on conviction, is a fine up to £2500. In stead of prosecuting, the Council can choose to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice .

Untaxed vehicles

If you wish to report a vehicle that is used or kept on the public road and appears to be unlicensed, visit: Report an untaxed vehicle .

If a vehicle is kept off-road, it must be taxed or have a current Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). For more information, visit: Vehicle tax, MOT and insurance .

Unwanted vehicles

Do you own a vehicle that you no longer want and would like to dispose of it? You will need to contact an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), who will recycle it for you. For a list of ATFs in the local area, visit: Environment Agency - authorised treatment facilities register .

See also