What is an abandoned vehicle?
You can report any vehicle which appears to be abandoned on the highway or on private land without permission.
This could include a car, van, motorcycle, trailer or caravan.
These are some of the signs that might mean a vehicle is abandoned:
- no registered keeper
- no tax or MOT
- stationary for a significant amount of time
- significantly damaged, run down or unroadworthy
- flat tyres, missing wheels or broken windows
- filled with waste, missing number plates, not locked
- burnt out
We cannot class a vehicle as abandoned for being untaxed unless there are other signs of abandonment.
You should report untaxed vehicles to the DVLA.
Vehicles that we cannot investigate
- has been stationary for less than 6 weeks (unless burnt out or significantly damaged)
- has current tax and MOT (unless burnt out or significantly damaged)
- is legally parked on the highway with no other signs of abandonment
- is a nuisance because of where or how it is parked
- is parked on private land with the permission of the landowner
Before you report a vehicle as abandoned
Consider the following:
- could the owner be away?
- has the vehicle broken down?
- ask neighbours - they may know who the vehicle belongs to if there is an owner
Take the following actions:
- Please check vehicle tax and mot online.
- If the vehicle is not taxed please report it on the Government's website and allow time for the DVLA to resolve.
- If the vehicle has no MOT and is being used on the road, causing an obstruction, or is a danger to highway users please report it to the Police
- If you suspect the vehicle has been stolen, or has been in an accident please report it to the Police
- If the vehicle is parked illegally on the highway please report to the Councils Civil Parking Enforcement team
Vehicles on social housing land
If the vehicle is on Social Housing land (for example, a communal car park) please contact the Housing Association. Only continue with this report if you are not satisfied with their response.
- Cornwall Housing
- Ocean Housing
- Coastline Housing
- Cornwall Rural Housing Association
- Westward Housing
- Sanctuary Housing
Landlords and managing agents (including Registered Social Landlords or ‘Housing Associations’)
If a vehicle has been left on land that you own or manage:
- you should request information about ownership of the vehicle from the DVLA.
- you can contact the registered keeper to request that they remove the vehicle.
- if there is no registered keeper or you are unable to contact them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How we investigate abandoned vehicle reports
- We will inspect the vehicle if the information in your report suggests it may be abandoned.
- If we think it's abandoned, we may put a notice on it or send a letter to the registered keeper.
- If we don’t think it is abandoned, we will let you know
- If the owner doesn’t contact us or move the abandoned vehicle, we can remove it to a secure place.
- If the vehicle is on private land we first need the landowner’s consent (15-day notice period to the landowner).
- If an abandoned vehicle is a danger to the public we may be able to remove it straight away.
Report an abandoned vehicle
Please read this webpage before reporting a vehicle as abandoned. We cannot accept reports if:
- you provide anonymous or false contact details
- you are not able to provide the requested details on the vehicle or the precise location
- you report a vehicle which we cannot investigate for the reasons explained above
During the report process you can provide us with photographs of the vehicle (upload). This can help speed up the process of investigating the vehicle.
Please only take photographs when safe to do so. Make sure that you are away from hazards such as passing traffic.
You can upload up to 5 images. Each image must be less than 15mb. Please include photographs of the following:
- The entire vehicle including the surroundings – so we can also see the area around the vehicle
- The vehicle from the front – so we can see the windscreen, bonnet, and number plate
- The vehicle from the rear – so we can see the rear window, boot, and number plate
- The vehicle from one side – so we can see the windows, doors etc
- A closer view of a tyre (showing this is flat, rusty disc brakes, or similar)
Abandoned Vehicle Data
We have collated a list of reports about abandoned vehicles over the last three financial years and quarter one to quarter three of 2022-2023.
Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.Use our contact us form
- Community and Environmental Protection
- Community and Environmental Protection
- 0300 1234 212