What is an abandoned vehicle?

There is no legal definition of an abandoned vehicle, but it is reasonable to believe a vehicle is abandoned when no owner, or anyone who claims to own the vehicle, can be traced. It can also apply to unroadworthy or untaxed vehicles that have been left in the open air.

We have a duty to remove vehicles if we believe they have been abandoned, except where the cost would be unreasonably high, for example if specialist services would be needed.

Vehicles on private land will be investigated but take longer to deal with and we may not always be able to remove them.

We cannot deal with vehicles that are:

  • on major trunk roads, such as the A1/A14 (unless they are in a layby)

  • causing an obstruction

  • being driven illegally (without tax or insurance etc).

Please report these vehicles to the police.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle?

An abandoned vehicle needs to have been parked without moving for 28 days or be significantly damaged or burned out.

The criteria for a vehicle to be deemed as abandoned should have one or more of the following criteria:

  • the vehicle has flat tyres

  • the windscreen or windows are broken

  • the vehicle is mouldy or rusty

  • the vehicle is missing number plates

  • the vehicle is not roadworthy or is in a poor state of repair

  • the vehicle is untaxed or SORN and stored on the road or public highway

  • the vehicle has been parked without moving for 28 days.

If any of these apply to the vehicle in question, please report it to us.  You will need to provide us with the following information:

  • the vehicle's location

  • the vehicle's make and model

  • the vehicle's registration number

  • the vehicle's colour

  • why you think it has been abandoned (length of time left)

  • photo(s) of the vehicle.

Report an Abandoned Vehicle

Vehicles that are parked badly or are causing an obstruction - please contact your local policing team on 101.

As part of our investigation we will visit the location within 5 working days and carry out immediate community enquiries to try to locate the vehicle's owner.

If an enforcement officer is of the opinion that the vehicle does appear to have been abandoned, we will remove it and store it for 21 days. If it is still not claimed after that, it will be destroyed and recycled.

Abandoning a vehicle is a crime and we may issue a fixed penalty notice of up to £200 to the registered keeper. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of up to £2,500, imprisonment, or both.

You can check the tax status of a vehicle by using the DVLA's online enquiry.