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Report or claim an abandoned vehicle

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Report an abandoned vehicle

You can report an abandoned vehicle using My Wiltshire or call Wiltshire Council 0300 456 0100.

The following details will be required when reporting an abandoned vehicle:

  • Registration number of the vehicle
  • Make, model and colour
  • Exact location of vehicle (Including postcode or a postcode for a near property). The map system in the reporting App will assist.
  • How long the vehicle has been there
  • Details of any known owner
  • Why do you believe the vehicle to be abandoned?

You can check the TAX/MOT status of a vehicle on the gov.uk website

Who do I report vehicles to which are causing an obstruction?

You can report vehicles causing an obstruction to Wiltshire Police on 101.

Section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 authorises the police to remove vehicles that are illegally, dangerously or obstructively parked whether or not they have been stolen.

It is not the responsibility of the Local Authority to deal with parking issues or vehicles parked in a dangerous position, unless the vehicle is in contravention of the parking restrictions (Controlled by way of a Traffic Regulation Order) and in this case should be passed onto Parking Services.

What is an abandoned vehicle?

We treat a vehicle as being abandoned if it has been left without lawful authority on any land in the open air in such circumstances or for such a period that it may be reasonably assumed to be abandoned, or, if the vehicle had been brought to the piece of land for the purpose of abandonment.

Is there a definition of an "abandoned vehicle"?

There is no legal definition of 'abandoned' - Council officers must decide in each case whether a vehicle is abandoned. However, the following characteristics are generally common to abandoned vehicles and one or a combination of the following will be taken into account when deciding whether a vehicle is abandoned:

  • Untaxed, with no current vehicle keeper on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA)record
  • No valid MOT
  • Stationary for a significant amount of time
  • Significantly damaged, run down or un-roadworthy
  • Burnt out
  • Flat tyres
  • Presence of mould on either the inside or outside of the vehicle
  • Contains waste

This is not an exhaustive list and a vehicle would not have to be displaying the full list to be considered Abandoned.

Will Wiltshire Council deal with vehicles on private land?

A Council Enforcement Officer will usually inspect the vehicle within 5 days of receiving the report to decide whether the vehicle is actually abandoned. If in the opinion of the Enforcement Officer the vehicle is abandoned then the course of action that will be taken by the Council is dependent on the condition and location of the vehicle:


All vehicles that are considered to be abandoned are dealt with using the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 and the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 which contains relevant legislation which is used to remove abandoned vehicles from both public highway and private land.

First visit

  • Enforcement officer visits the targeted vehicle to confirm that in their opinion the vehicle has been abandoned
  • Photographs and a site visit report are made during this visit
  • If the vehicle is suspected as being abandoned, the officer will affix a removal notice on the vehicle
  • If the vehicle is a wreck or is a clear health and safety risk to everybody then the visiting officer can immediately order the vehicle to be removed for disposal

Second visit

  • If the vehicle has not moved within the period specified on the notice, then the targeted vehicle will be immediatelymarked for collection and subsequent disposal by the council's authorised contractor.

Vehicle Removal

  • Following the removal of a vehicle we will make enquiries with the DVLA Wiltshire Police and HPI.  If we are able to obtain details about the registered keeper, we will write to them to let them know that the vehicle has been removed and how it can be claimed
  • Vehicles not claimed within 5 days of removal will be destroyed

My car has been removed, how do I get it back?

You must contact the officer dealing with the case as shown on correspondence from us. The officer will tell you what you need to do to pay for the vehicle to be released from storage. The Council is entitled to recover removal and storage costs.You may also be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200.

When you have proved ownership and all costs for removal, storage and disposal are paid, the vehicle can be collected from the storage compound if it has road tax, an MOT certificate and is insured. Proof of these must be shown at the compound before the vehicle can be taken away.

If the vehicle has no tax, no MOT or no insurance, you can arrange for a recovery service to collect the vehicle from the compound. You must give 12 hours notification of collection.

What are the costs for getting my vehicle back?

The removal, storage and disposal costs are statutory charges laid down in the Removal, Storage and Disposal Vehicle Regulations.

These start at £150 for removal, £21 a day for storage and £75 for disposal

Is abandoning a vehicle a criminal offence?

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence, and if prosecuted carries a maximum fine of £2500 or three months imprisonment, or both.

The Clean Neighbourhood & Environment Act 2005 gives authorised officers of the Council the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) in respect of an offence of abandoning a vehicle. The sum is set at £200.

I have reported an abandoned vehicle but have received notification that the vehicle is not abandoned or does not meet criteria?

When Wiltshire Council receives an abandoned vehicle report, we will review the information provided before deciding if the vehicle will be inspected or not.

In some circumstances, where a vehicle does not have the characteristics identified below, the Council will not inspect a vehicle.  One or a combination of the following will be taken into account when deciding whether a vehicle is abandoned:

  • Untaxed, with no current vehicle keeper on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) record;
  • No valid MOT
  • Stationary for a significant amount of time.
  • Significantly damaged, run down or un-roadworthy.
  • Burnt out
  • Flat tyres
  • Presence of mould on either the inside or outside of the vehicle
  • Contains waste

I have received an abandoned vehicle notice on my vehicle, what should I do?

You need to comply with the notice and remove the vehicle.

You can use the online abandoned vehicle claim form if you are the owner or registered keeper to claim a vehicle that has been reported as abandoned.

Please note, that completing this form does not prevent the Council from removing the vehicle.

Can I store non-motorised vehicles on the highway?

It is an offence to store non-motor vehicles and structures such as caravans, trailers and boats on the highway. We have a duty to remove these under the Highways Act 1980.

Contact Details (LiveLink)

Multiple Contacts:
eMail: customerserviceseast@wiltshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 456 0102
Out of hours:
Postal Address:

Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN

In Person:

Last updated: 11 January 2017


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