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Report an abandoned vehicle

Before reporting an abandoned vehicle, please check to see if you think the vehicle really is abandoned. A vehicle is abandoned if one or more of the following applies: 

  • It has been stationary for a significant amount of time (at least 3 weeks).
  • It is burned out or significantly damaged, run down or unroadworthy - with flat tyres, wheels removed or broken windows, and contains waste.
  • It has no keeper on the DVLA's database and is untaxed - you can check if a vehicle is taxed on the DVLA website as vehicles no longer have to display a tax disc.
  • It has number plates missing.

Vehicles that are parked inconveniently are not classed as abandoned vehicles unless they meet the criteria above. If the vehicle is causing an obstruction, please report it to Thames Valley Police online or by calling 101.

Dealing with untaxed vehicles which are not considered to be abandoned is the responsibility of the DVLA. You can report untaxed vehicles to the DVLA.

Report an abandoned vehicle

You can report an abandoned vehicle to us. We will need as much information as possible, including:

  • a detailed location of the vehicle, please include street names, house numbers, landmarks etc
  • vehicle make, model and colour
  • registration number
  • whether the vehicle is burnt out or not
  • the date (or approximate date) when it was abandoned.

​We will investigate abandoned vehicles on the highway. If the abandoned vehicle is on private land, the landowner or managing agent should report it and we will contact them and provide advice.

What happens next

When we receive a complaint about an abandoned vehicle, we will investigate it within 5 working days and, if the vehicle seems to be abandoned, contact the registered keeper and ask them to contact us within 7 days if they wish to claim the vehicle.  

If a vehicle is in a dangerous condition. e.g. it is burned out, has broken windows or is significantly damaged, we will arrange for it to be removed within 24 hours.

If the registered keeper claims the car, no further action is taken. If the vehicle is not claimed, we will remove it, store it for up to 2 weeks and then it will be disposed of. Should the registered keeper wish to claim the vehicle once it has been removed, they will need to pay a release fee of £108 and storage costs of £12 per day.

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence for which the maximum fine is £2,500. Reading Borough Council can issue the registered keeper of an abandoned vehicle with a fixed penalty notice of £200 as an alternative to prosecution, providing the fixed penalty is paid within 14 days. 

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