Abandoned vehicles

An authorised officer will inspect and determine whether they consider a vehicle to be abandoned or not.

There is no definition of an abandoned vehicle but it may have one of more of the following criteria:

  • It has been stationary for at least 21 days
  • the windscreen or windows are broken
  • there is mould inside or outside of the vehicle
  • the tyres are flat
  • debris is accumulating around the vehicle
  • the vehicle is unlocked
  • the vehicle is untaxed
  • there is rubbish inside the vehicle
  • there are parts missing

Untaxed vehicles

Now that paper tax discs are no longer issued, check if a vehicle is taxed or not by visiting DVLA tax check

If you find that a car is untaxed and still in use on a public highway, you can Report an untaxed vehicle to the DVLA

The council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles as long as the cost to recover a vehicle deemed abandoned is not significant. Trailers and caravans that would normally be attached to a vehicle can also be classed as abandoned vehicle.

Abandoned vehicles can be removed immediately, without notice unless they are on private land. Where the landowner is not known, a fifteen-day notice will be served on the keeper of the vehicle and/or the vehicle itself. The landowner can contact us to have a vehicle removed before the expiry date of the notice.

You can report an abandoned vehicle if you consider a vehicle to be abandoned. When reporting an abandoned vehicle you will need to let us know:

  • the make, model and colour of the vehicle
  • the registration number (if available)
  • if the vehicle is taxed
  • how long the vehicle has been at that location
  • whether the car is damaged or in a dangerous condition
  • your contact details so that we can keep you updated

Abandoning vehicles is a criminal offence and carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and potentially three months imprisonment.

Abandoned vehicle offence

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence and you may be liable for a fixed penalty notice of £200 which is reduced to £120 (for payment within 10 days) if a vehicle registered in your name is removed by us. Failure to pay the penalty notice may result in prosecution where the maximum fine is £2,500 and potentially three months imprisonment.

Removed vehicles

If your vehicle has been deemed abandoned and removed by us it will be kept for seven days unless it is deemed fit for immediate destruction (burnt out or significantly damaged). The registered keeper will receive a seven day notice during which time the vehicle can be reclaimed providing the following charges are paid:

  • Removal of vehicle - £150
  • Storage of vehicle - £20 each 24 hour period or part thereof.

We consider that property inside an abandoned vehicle is abandoned with the vehicle. Vehicles and their contents are crushed as a whole.

Free vehicle take back

Under the End of Life Vehicle Directive, car manufacturers have set up facilities to scrap complete old cars when they reach the end of their life. You can now deliver your unwanted vehicle to certain sites or arrange for it to be picked up and taken for disposal, depending on the make of your vehicle.

To find your nearest take back point visit:

Donate to charity

Giveacar is a not-for-profit social enterprise that can turn your old car into cash for any UK charity. We arrange free collection, then either sell your car at auction or scrap it with the proceeds raised going to your charity.