ABANDONED cars are ‘plaguing’ the streets of Teignbridge with around 10 vehicles a week being reported to the district council, according to a councillor.

In total, 1,431 vehicles have been reported to Teignbridge Council as abandoned over the past three years.

But just a fraction of these cars are collected and taken away by Teignbridge, claims Devon councillor Alan Connett.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, Teignbridge admitted it had accepted just 342 of the cars as abandoned.  

Just 70 were actually removed over the three years from April 2021 to March 2024. 

Cllr Connett, who represents Exminster and Haldon, said: ‘The scale of the abandoned car problem is a real shocker.

‘Cars are left on streets and become a torment to the local community.’

Since Cllr Connett highlighted the problem, one such vehicle which had been left on Farmhouse Rise in Exminster since September, which had no MOT and was ‘clearly unroadworthy’ has now been removed, following many attempts to ‘persuade’ Teignbridge Council to do so. 

Cllr Connett said he had been so ‘exasperated’ on behalf of the community who see the ‘responsible authority taking no action’, he had written to the Chief Constable asking police to act. 

Government guidance to help establish when a car is abandoned says authorities must must decide if a vehicle is abandoned. 

This is likely if several conditions are met such as it has no keeper on DVLA’s database and is untaxed; is  stationary for a significant amount of time; has significant damages is run down or unroadworthy such as flat tyres; is burned out or a number plate is missing.

Last year, 2023-24, Teignbridge Council spent just over £3,130 disposing of abandoned cars but received £1,445 in income for the vehicles. 

Cllr Connett added: ‘Councils like Teignbridge have a duty to deal with abandoned cars. 

‘However, from my own experience of chasing action for just this one vehicle is that residents give up because they say the council does nothing. 

‘No-one looking at the car in this case could think it was anything other than abandoned.

‘Abandoning a car is not without risk because councils can penalise people who abandon vehicles or parts of vehicles on roads or land in the open air by either

issuing a fixed penalty notice or prosecuting them.

‘If this is the situation in just one Devon district, it suggests the problem must be worse across the county overall. It’s time, in my view, residents were heard and there was more enforcement and action to deal with abandoned cars.’

A spokesman for Teignbridge Council said: ‘We receive a large number of reports and assess all of them. 

‘There are a relatively small number which meet the definition of an abandoned vehicle and then we follow our usual approach to removing them. 

‘This includes obtaining the registered keeper details from the DVLA and contacting the registered keeper. 

‘In the minority of situations we have to use our powers to remove the vehicle ourselves.’