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Abandoned vehicles

Vehicles can be abandoned both on a public road and on private land or a private road.

You can report an abandoned vehicle like a dumped car to us if it is on a public road. The land owner will need to be involved if you are reporting an abandoned vehicle on private land or a private road.

How to tell if a vehicle has been abandoned

The Department of the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has no legal definition of 'abandonment'. However, vehicles can be classed as abandoned if:

  • there is no valid road tax, and
  • there is no registered keeper
  • the vehicle has suffered substantial damaged, run down or does not appear to be roadworthy
  • the vehicle contains a substantial amount of waste
  • the vehicle has been stationary for a significant amount of time
  • the vehicle has no number plates

Reporting a vehicle which has been abandoned on a public road

If you see what appears to be an abandoned vehicle on the public highway (not on council housing land) you can report the details to us.

We can only take action if the vehicle has no valid road tax.

Reporting a vehicle which has been abandoned on private land or a private road

The land owner, or agent acting on behalf of the land owner, will need to make the referral to us. If you are not the land owner then please make contact in the first instance with the land owner or agent and ask them to make contact with us direct and provide their written instructions to act.

The only requirement for reporting a vehicle which has been abandoned on private land is the written instructions from the land owner or agent acting for the land owner in which they state they do not want the vehicle on their land and the reason why (i.e. it does not belong to the land owner or the land owner has not given consent for it to be on the land etc).


Report an abandoned vehicle

You can report an abandoned vehicle using our online form.

Report now

Or you can contact us directly.

This information will then be passed on to our enforcement team to investigate.


Abandonment of a vehicle is a criminal offence which could result in a criminal conviction and a court fine not exceeding £2,500.

Fines are issued to the registered keeper for the abandonment of a vehicle (currently £200 per vehicle), plus all charges incurred can and will be recovered from the registered keeper. Failure to pay these charges and fines will leave the registered keeper open to prosecution, which could involve:

  • £200 Fixed Penalty for abandoning a vehicle
  • destruction of the motor vehicle
  • failure to pay the Fixed Penalty will result in legal action being taken - this may lead to prosecution

What we will do

Once we have been told that a vehicle appears to be abandoned the information or 'referral' will be passed to an enforcement officer. An officer will review the information and decide whether the vehicle has been abandoned or not.

If in their opinion the vehicle is deemed to be abandoned, the enforcement officer will:

  • carry out a DVLA check for current keeper details (if held)
  • visit the site within 5 working days
  • place a 15 day notice on the vehicle
  • write to the registered keeper, requesting removal of the vehicle within fifteen days from the date of the notice
  • if the DVLA does not hold any current keeper details and the landowner instructs in writing, then the vehicle can be removed immediately and subsequently destroyed
  • issue a Fixed Penalty Notice
  • instruct legal proceedings

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