Abandoned Vehicle  -  FAQ

What is the Crackdown Abandoned Vehicle Scheme ?

The Abandoned Vehicle Scheme (AVS) is a partnership between:
  • Sussex Police
  • local authorities (district, county and city councils)
  • fire and rescue services
It was created to ensure that vehicles abandoned in Sussex are quickly investigated and removed.

What happens when you report an abandoned vehicle?

When you report an abandoned vehicle:
  1. The information you provide goes into the AVS computer database at Sussex Police HQ.
  2. The registration number of the vehicle is automatically checked against the Police National Computer (PNC) to find out if it is of interest to the police - for example if it is stolen or has been involved in a crime. If so, Sussex Police will be informed and take action.
  3. If there is no police interest, the vehicle information will be sent to the relevant local authority for investigation. The authority will inspect the vehicle, take photos and make a report, which will be uploaded onto the AVS computer database.
  4. Depending on the condition and location of the vehicle, the local authority will either:
    • write to the registered owner
    • request authorisation from the Police to remove the vehicle
  5. A Sussex Police officer then reviews the evidence and decides if the vehicle can be classified as abandoned (Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Removal and Disposal of Vehicle Regulations 1986). If so, the officer will authorise removal by the local authority.
  6. The local authority will arrange for the vehicle to be removed either for storage or disposal.
Each action throughout the whole process will be recorded on the AVS database.

Why isn’t an ‘abandoned’ notice put on an abandoned vehicle?

Research has found that a vehicle which has an ‘abandoned’ notice attached is more likely to be vandalised or stolen.

How is it decided whether a vehicle is officially ‘abandoned’?

Vehicles can be abandoned for a number of various reasons, for instance:
  • End of life
  • Breakdown
  • Road traffic collisions
  • Lack of action from an insurance or finance company
A vehicle without a current vehicle excise licence is not always an abandoned vehicle. Likewise a vehicle with a current vehicle excise licence could be abandoned.

For a police officer or police staff member to authorise the removal of an abandoned vehicle, it must be on a road or on any land (public or private) in the open air in such position, condition or circumstance as to appear abandoned without lawful authority.

How can I reclaim a vehicle that has been removed?

If you wish to reclaim a vehicle that has been removed, please contact the relevant local authority. They will provide you with a vehicle claim form.

Once completed, this form should be taken to a local police station, along with a recent proof of your address (i.e. less than one month old) and the Vehicle Registration Document or other suitable proof of ownership.

If you wish to drive the vehicle away, the following documents should also be produced:
  • A current insurance certificate
  • A current MOT certificate
At the police station, the claim form will be stamped. You will need to take it to the local authority and pay for recovery and storage costs in order for the vehicle being released.

Finally, you can take the completed form to the recovery company and collect the vehicle.
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