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Abandoned vehicle

Chorley Council is responsible for ensuring that abandoned vehicles are removed from the borough's highways and open spaces.

It is against the law to abandon a vehicle and it can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 or 3 months imprisonment, or both. 

If you see an abandoned vehicle please report it to us.

We have a responsibility to remove vehicles from land in the open air and on roads (including private roads) where the owner has left the vehicle with no intention of returning.

If the abandoned vehicle is on private land then we will attempt to contact the landowner and establish whether the vehicle is abandoned. If the landowner gives their permission, we will take further action that may result in the vehicle being removed.

If the vehicle is on public land and is in such a condition as to pose a risk to the public with, for example, smashed windows or been burnt out then we will arrange for it to be removed. However, if the vehicle is taxed and undamaged, blocking access or causing an obstruction then you will need to contact the police by calling 101.


Check if a vehicle is taxed

You can check online with the DVLA if a vehicle is taxed or SORN'd on the GOV.UK website. You will need the vehicle's make and registration number.

You can also report an untaxed of SORN'd vehicle kept on the highway on the GOV.UK website, but will need to include the registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle, and the street name, town and postcode where the vehicle is parked (you will not be able to report the vehicle without these details).

You can also use the Rapid Car Check website to find out vehicle details.

This tool includes vital vehicle information such as:

  • MOT status
  • tax status
  • police stolen status
  • vehicle make, model, colour and year

Check vehicle details


The difference between a nuisance vehicle and an abandoned vehicle

An abandoned vehicle is one that nobody wants or is willing to claim ownership of. These guidelines will help identify whether a vehicle is abandoned.

  • run down or unroadworthy with flat tyres or missing wheels 
  • litter in or around the car suggesting it hasn't been moved for a significant amount of time 
  • significantly damaged with broken windscreen or windows 
  • missing number plates
  • missing parts e.g. bumper, seats, radio
  • graffiti on the vehicle

A nuisance vehicle could be any of the following:

  • poorly parked
  • causing an obstruction
  • involved in residential parking dispute
  • untaxed
  • broken down

We will only investigate an abandoned vehicle report and take action where necessary. A vehicle will not be treated as abandoned until it has been confirmed that there is no registered owner.


Removal of the vehicle

There is a legal procedure that must be followed in the majority of cases. This can take some time depending on the individual case. Once removed, the disposal of the vehicle becomes the responsibility of Lancashire County Council.

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