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Report an abandoned vehicle

How to identify and report an abandoned vehicle.

What is an abandoned vehicle?

In the context of abandoned vehicles, we define ‘vehicle’ as any motor vehicle or trailer, or anything which forms part of a motor vehicle or trailer, including any item contained within it. 

A vehicle is considered abandoned if:  

  • it has been left in a public location, typically a road, for a long period of time without lawful authority
  • it is left on a street or highway in such inoperable or neglected condition that it may be reasonably concluded that the owner's intention was to relinquish all further rights or interests in it

We consider a vehicle to be abandoned if: 

  • it has been stationary for a long time, poorly parked, illegally parked for an extended period, or causing an obstruction
  • it is damaged or vandalised
  • it is run down or unroadworthy with flat tyres, wheels removed or broken windows
  • it is burnt out
  • it is missing one or both registration (number) plates
  • it contains waste

Check if a vehicle is taxed or insured

How do I report an abandoned vehicle?

Report a suspected abandoned vehicle

Or you can also contact the Environmental Action Line on 020 7641 2000.

You will be asked to provide information about the vehicle: 

  • make, model and colour
  • registration number
  • exact location
  • general condition of vehicle

What happens next?

The details of the vehicle will be passed to an investigating officer who will inspect the vehicle and assess whether it is abandoned and, if so, arrange for its removal.

Impounded vehicles are taken to a car pound where they are held for a limited period to allow for recovery. Vehicles that are not recovered within the holding period will be disposed of as appropriate.

How do I recover a vehicle that has been removed as abandoned?

Contact TRACE. It is a service for anyone whose vehicle may have been towed away for illegal parking or as abandoned by any council in London. It is available 24 hours a day, all year.

TRACE will advise which pound the vehicle has been moved to and provide information on the procedure for release.

  • visit TRACE online
  • call 0300 077 0100
  • text “TRACE” followed by your Vehicle Registration Mark to 66663

Published: 20 January 2021

Last updated: 21 September 2023