Abandoned vehicles

Is a vehicle really abandoned?

There is no legal definition of an 'abandoned vehicle'. An abandoned vehicle may be abandoned if:

  • the vehicle appears to be damaged, or not roadworthy
  • it is kept unlawfully on the road whilst registered with a SORN (Statutory off Road Notification), or holds no valid road tax
  • the vehicle has been stationary for a significant period
  • it has flat tyres or missing wheels
  • there is waste inside or outside the vehicle
  • it is missing one or both of its registration plates
  • 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
  • just untaxed, or does not have a valid MOT. Please report it to the DVLA using the link at the bottom of this page
  • causing an obstruction on the highway or pavement, please report it to the Police. The telephone number is 101
  • parked in a street without the correct residential permit
  • temporarily broken down.

Report parking problems

Report a parking problem on the Cumbria County Council website, they operate the residential parking scheme on our behalf.

To report a vehicle to the Police

To report a vehicle causing an obstruction, telephone the Police, on 101, or email 101@cumbria.police.uk.

The Police have powers to remove any vehicle left in a position causing a danger or obstruction on the highway immediately.

Report an abandoned vehicle

Report an abandoned vehicle online you need to know the vehicle make, model and registration and explain why you think the vehicle is abandoned.

Alternatively, contact a Community Warden.

What we do

  • If a member of the public reports an abandoned vehicle to us, our Community Warden will investigate the vehicle. If our enquiries indicate that the vehicle may be abandoned, we will attempt to contact the owner. However, identifying the owner may take some time. Once found, we will advise them on a course of action which may lead to the removal of their vehicle.

  • If we cannot identify the owner, we would look to take enforcement action. This may result in the removal, storage and disposal of the vehicle.

  • We may recover costs incurred in removing, storing and disposing of the vehicle from the owner or landowner as necessary, and may also serve a fixed penalty notice of £200 on the owner of the vehicle. If the owner does not pay the penalty, they may be taken to Court, receive a fine of up to £2,500, and sent to prison for up to 3 months.

  • We will not investigate anonymous abandoned vehicle reports.

Checking that a vehicle is taxed

Find out if a vehicle has up-to-date tax 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.

Report an untaxed vehicle to the DVLA only if a vehicle is untaxed and used/kept on the public road.

Only report a vehicle as abandoned if it does not have up-to-date tax and fulfils other criteria from the list at the top of this page.

Vehicles parked on private land

To find out who the registered keeper of a vehicle parked on private land, a landowner must contact the DVLA in writing. They will need to complete a V888 form to apply for information from the DVLA’s vehicle records.

Request information about a vehicle or its registered keeper from DVLA on GOV.UK to access the V888 form, which applies to you. If you request this information, there is a small fee to pay. You must have reasonable cause to ask for the information. By doing this, landowners may be able to find information to resolve the issue directly with the registered keeper.

Get vehicle information from the DVLA on GOV.UK to find out if a vehicle has up-to-date tax and MOT.

Vehicles abandoned on the M6 motorway

Telephone Highways England on 0300 123 5000 to report an abandoned vehicle on the M6 motorway and the A66 in Cumbria.

Alternatively, email info@highwaysengland.co.uk if this is not an emergency.

Last updated: Thursday, 4 February, 2021.