Crackdown finds 60% spike in road tax dodgers since tax disc was scrapped

Tax discs have now been scrapped

Tax discs have now been scrapped

Enforcement officers have launched a crackdown on motorists who fail to tax their vehicles after they discovered 18 out of 21 cars parked on one Suffolk road had no tax or MOT.

Enforcement officers have launched a crackdown on motorists who fail to tax their vehicles after they discovered 18 out of 21 cars parked on one Suffolk road had no tax or MOT.

A representative from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said the number of untaxed vehicles in the county had risen by 60% since the system of displaying tax discs on windscreens was dropped last October.

He said: “People assume that now you don’t have to display a tax disc, no-one will notice and they will get away with it, but that isn’t the case.”

He said failing to tax a vehicle could have “serious consequences”.

There has been an increase in the number of cars abandoned at the road side which can then attract antisocial behaviour.

In Sudbury last year, there were two separate incidents where cars were torched close to homes, causing widespread concern in the town.

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The officer, who did not want to be named, added: “The other problem with abandoned cars is that they attract antisocial behaviour. People use them as a squat, they drink alcohol and take drugs in them and in many cases they set fire to them.

“The people living in these areas have to put up with burnt out cars, smashed windscreens and broken glass all over the place. It can pose real health risks, it’s really distressing for residents and it pushes up insurance premiums.”

Along with Mid Suffolk and Babergh District councils, the DVLA and Sudbury Town Council is waging a campaign against road tax dodgers and those who abandon cars.

The district councils’ Environmental Protection officer, David Abbott, who is spearheading the campaign, said five years ago he would typically deal with three abandoned cars in a month but now that number has increased to around 40.

Mr Abbott said: “The problem has increased significantly and we put it down to changes in the tax disc system, the fact that the price of scrap metal has dropped from around £250 for an old car to £30 so it’s not worth people scrapping their vehicles – and there is still the financial burden of road tax which can cost up to £450 a year for some vehicles.

“Because of the large number of untaxed or abandoned vehicles being reported to us in the Sudbury and Great Cornard area recently, we have set up a joint operation between the DVLA enforcement team and Sudbury town wardens to look at areas where we have identified vehicles parked without tax.

“We are hoping by cracking down like this that it’s going to make people be more responsible and start looking after their own vehicles rather than simply abandoning them.”

Under the joint operation, owners of untaxed vehicles will be visited and issued a warning. If they haven’t paid by the second visit, the vehicle will be clamped for 24 hours and then taken to a pound for a fortnight.

“If no-one comes to collect them, the vehicle will be crushed or sold at auction,” Mr Abbott added.

“There’s ongoing investigations into all of the vehicles and cars we have identified as having no tax. We will crack down on people who are not abiding by the law and are putting other people’s lives in danger as a result.”

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