Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £2,500 and three months in prison. Details below of what constitutes an abandoned vehicle and how to report one.
What is an abandoned vehicle?
We must be satisfied that a vehicle is abandoned before it can be dealt with. Normally you can tell if a vehicle has been abandoned by looking for the following signs:
It may not have moved for a long time (weeks or months)
It is not taxed, check and report online at https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle), this will refer the vehicle to the DVLA who will deal with the vehicle from this point
It may have been vandalised (broken windows, flat tyres or other parts missing)
It may be neglected and in poor condition generally
It may be burnt out or have had a crash
It may be lacking one or more of it's number plates
- It may contain waste
Any or all of these signs may apply to abandoned vehicles. The more that apply, the more likely it is that the vehicle is abandoned.
If you see a vehicle that you think may be abandoned please report it to us as soon as possible. We will begin to investigate the issue within 2 working days.
We would ask you provide as much information as possible relating to the vehicle and it's location. We would also ask you provide a contact telephone number to allow the investigating officer to speak directly with you regarding the vehicle.
What happens next?
When we receive a report of an abandoned vehicle we aim to begin investigating it within 2 working days.
If we are satisfied that a car is abandoned it can be dealt with in a variety of ways:
- Car on public (non highway) land - The car is immediately removed and impounded using powers under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act. If the car is not reclaimed it is destroyed.
- Abandoned car on private land - A 15-day notice can be served on the occupier(s) of the land prior to removal as required by the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act. If the car is still present, on expiry of the notice it will be removed.
- Car torched/heavily vandalised - car removed and destroyed immediately as as required by the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act.
In some cases where a car is impounded, the owner is able to reclaim the car, but will be required to pay a release fee and storage charges. In some case where the vehicle is only fit for destruction then it may be destroyed immediately.