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Abandoned vehicles

When is a vehicle considered abandoned?

There is no legal definition of an 'abandoned vehicle'. A vehicle can only be considered to be abandoned by an Officer of the Council when it fulfills some or all of the following criteria:

  • if the vehicle appears to be damaged or not roadworthy;
  • if it is kept unlawfully on the road whilst registered with a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), or holds no valid road tax;
  • if the vehicle has been stationary for a significant period of time;
  • if it has flat tyres or missing wheels;
  • if there is waste inside or outside the vehicle;
  • if it is missing one or both of its registration plates;
  • if the owner or keeper cannot be identified, or fails to respond to a letter or legal notice.

A vehicle is not abandoned

  • if it is involved in a residential parking dispute, for example if someone is parking their vehicle on a street where they do not live;
  • if it is just untaxed or does not have a valid MOT. Please report it to the DVLA using the link at the bottom of this page;
  • if it is causing an obstruction on the highway or pavement please report it to Cumbria County Council Highways by calling 0845 609 6609;
  • if someone is parking in a street where they do not have a correct residential permit. Report this to Cumbria County Council who operate this service on our behalf;
  • if it is temporarily broken down.

To report a vehicle to the Police:

  • Contact: Police Control Room
  • Telephone: 101

The police have the power to immediately remove any vehicle left in a position causing a danger or obstruction, particularly on the highway.

To tell us all the necessary details you can either:

  • use 'report it' to report an abandoned vehicle and to give us the exact location of the vehicle before completing the online form.
  • complete the abandoned vehicle report form
  • print and complete abandoned vehicle report form (PDF: 32Kb / 1 page)
    and return to the address at the bottom of the form.
  • telephone the Community Warden on 01768 817817, more details below.
  • please have the vehicle make, model and registration to hand when reporting a vehicle. You must also be ready to explain why you believe a vehicle to be abandoned.

What we do

  • If a member of the public reports an abandoned vehicle to us our Community Warden will investigate the status of the vehicle. If our enquiries indicate that the vehicle may have been abandoned we will attempt to contact the owner to advise them on a course of action which may lead to its removal.
  • If we are unable to identify the owner, which can take some time, then we would look to take enforcement action and may issue a 24 hour or 7 day statutory notice to remove the vehicle, depending on its location. On expiry of this time period we would remove and dispose of the vehicle.
  • We may recover costs incurred in removing, storing and disposing of the vehicle from the owner or land owner as necessary.
  • Anonymous reports will not be investigated.

Checking a vehicle is taxed

To check if a vehicle is taxed please visit the DVLA website on GOV.UK. You will need the full registration and the make of the vehicle. If a vehicle is untaxed or SORN and is being kept on the highway you can follow the link from this page to report it to the DVLA directly.

Please only report a vehicle as abandoned if it fulfills other criteria as listed at the top of this page as well as not being taxed.

Vehicles parked on private land

If a vehicle is parked on private land and the landowner has not given the keeper permission to do this, the landowner can contact the DVLA to request keeper details. For further advice visit GOV.UK to request vehicle information from the DVLA with a V888 form. If you request this information there is a small fee to pay and you must have reasonable cause to have this information.

For further information or advice:

  • Contact: Community Warden
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01768 817817
  • Fax: 01768 890732
  • Address: Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
An abandoned vehicle left in Eden
This caravan was left near Haweswater in September 2014. There was no identifying information on the caravan so we have removed and destroyed it. Abandoning a vehicle ruins the look of an area and encourages further anti social behaviour.

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