Operation targets abandoned vehicles in Caithness

Issued by Police Scotland

A multi-agency operation aimed at removing abandoned and untaxed vehicles from the roads of Caithness has led to 27 vehicles being clamped or seized.

Police Scotland officers have worked with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Highland Council Environmental Health officers during the three day operation running from Monday, 15 April until Wednesday, 17 April.

The operation targeted vehicles which were untaxed and had apparently been abandoned in public locations, causing a detrimental effect on the local community. The enforcement action followed directly on from complaints by local residents regarding apparently abandoned vehicles, and vehicles kept on the road and not taxed. Over the course of the three days of action, further road traffic offences have been detected, such as vehicles being driven without relevant documentation and contravening Construction and Use Regulations

Caithness area Inspector Marlene MacDonald said: “This co-ordinated approach with partner agencies shows our commitment to dealing with abandoned vehicles and other forms of vehicle criminality in our communities. Local residents have consistently raised concerns about the detrimental effect abandoned vehicles have on their community as well as, in certain cases, anti-social behaviour linked to these vehicles. In addition there is the obvious danger of vehicles which are not roadworthy remaining in use. Seizing these vehicles will not only clean up local communities but also keep our roads safe.”

Highland Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer Clifford Smith said:  “The Environmental Health team very much welcomed the operation this week. Abandoned cars cause significant concern within communities and the council spends a considerable amount of time and money in investigating and removing such vehicles.  Our team will continue to work closely with the DVLA, Police Scotland and other partner agencies in tackling this serious problem.”

DVLA Enforcement Spokesperson Bethan Beasley said: "It is right that action is taken against those who don't tax their vehicles, otherwise it wouldn't be fair to the vast majority of motorists who do the right thing. We are delighted to work with Police Scotland to make sure these untaxed vehicles are not driven on the road.  Our message is clear – Tax it or Lose It.”

Constable Neil Macdonald, from Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit led the operation.

He added: "This enforcement action was generally positively received by the communities in Caithness where the activity was carried out. A number of other road traffic offences had also been detected during the operation. The owners of all the vehicles which have been clamped or seized will receive fines in addition to the vehicle excise due directly from the DVLA. These will be sent to the individuals concerned in due course while other incidents will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal as appropriate."

Members of the public can report an untaxed vehicle anonymously on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle

More information about taxing a vehicle is on GOV.UK at:  https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax

Anyone with concerns about road safety can contact Police Scotland by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

18 Apr 2019