Save time, do it online: Pay Apply Report

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 fulfils 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 0300 303 2992;
  • 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:

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. A fixed penalty notice of £200 will be served on the owner of the vehicle. If the penalty is not paid this person may be taken to Court and fined up to £2,500 and imprisoned up to 3 months.
  • Anonymous reports will not be investigated.

Checking a vehicle is taxed

Check if a vehicle is taxed on GOV.UK to do this, 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 fulfils 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 go to get vehicle information for the DVLA on 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.