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News release from: 14/11/2022

Abandoned van destroyed and owner fined

Abandoned van destroyed and owner fined

A van that had been abandoned in a South Cambridgeshire village has been seized and destroyed – with its owner fined.

The white van, which was covered in green moss and had smashed windows, was in a poor condition and had been left in the same spot in Heathfield for several years.

South Cambridgeshire District Council contacted the owner and arranged for the vehicle to be removed. It was stored for three weeks, but the keeper did not make any arrangements to retrieve it.

As a result, they were given a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for abandoning the vehicle, which was reduced to £120 for prompt payment, and the van was crushed.

Abandoned vehicles damage the local environment as they:

  • Attract vandalism and rubbish
  • Can be the result of a crime
  • Can be used to commit a crime
  • Can produce a risk of explosion and injury

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Brian Milnes, said: “Abandoned vehicles are not only an eye-sore – they are also dangerous. They often lead to vandalism, a build-up of waste and other anti-social behaviour. Having a van sat abandoned like this on a village street, very close to neighbouring houses, is frustrating for people living nearby too. I’m pleased that we’ve taken action to get rid of it – and would urge anyone who thinks a vehicle has been abandoned to report it to us so we can investigate.”

Anyone who comes across an abandoned vehicle in South Cambridgeshire can report it to the Council.

It is a criminal offence to abandon a vehicle on any land in the open air, or any other land that forms part of a public road. Anyone who does so can face a maximum fine of £2,500 and / or three months in prison.

The owner of an abandoned vehicle that is removed, stored and or destroyed by the local Council, is liable for the storage or disposal costs. In this case in Heathfield, South Cambridgeshire District Council, instead of prosecuting, issued a fixed penalty notice for £200 to the owner.

The courts also have the power to disqualify a defendant from holding a driving licence where they committed a relevant offence, like abandoning a vehicle. Disqualification can be instead of, or as well as, dealing with the defendant in another way. 

Residents can lawfully dispose of a car that they no longer want or need by following the Government guidance. This includes getting it scrapped at an authorised treatment facility – which is usually free. These are sometimes known as a scrapyard or breaker’s yard.