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Abandoned vehicles

When is a vehicle considered to be abandoned?

There is no legal definition of an 'abandoned vehicle'. A vehicle can only be considered to be abandoned 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 the Police. The telephone number is 101;
  • if someone is parking in a street where they do not have a correct residential permit;
  • if it is temporarily broken down.

Report residential parking problems

Cumbria County Council operate the residential parking scheme on our behalf. To tell them about a problem complete the:

Parking general enquiries online form on Cumbria County Council's website.

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 on the highway.

Report an abandoned vehicle

To report an abandoned vehicle you need to know the vehicle make, model and registration. Explain why you think the vehicle is abandoned. Complete the:

Abandoned vehicle online report form

or contact a Community Warden

or print, complete and return the abandoned vehicle report form (PDF: 32Kb / 1 page).

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 have been abandoned, we will attempt to contact the owner. We will advise them on a course of action which may lead to its removal. Identifying an owner may take some time;

  • If we are unable to identify the owner we would look to take enforcement action. This may result in the vehicle being removed, stored and disposed of;

  • 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 for up to 3 months;

  • Anonymous reports will not be investigated.

Checking that a vehicle is taxed

Check if a vehicle is taxed 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. 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, the landowner can contact the DVLA to request keeper details using a V888 form. This should be done before contacting us. Landowners may be able to use this information to resolve the issue directly with the keeper. 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. You must have reasonable cause to have this information.

Vehicles abandoned on the M6 motorway

For vehicles abandoned on the M6 motorway and the A66 in Cumbria:

Contact: Highways England


Telephone: 0300 123 5000