The number of cars being abandoned at the roadside rather than being disposed of properly in Northern Ireland has increased nearly six-fold in four years.
A total of 2,594 cars were reported as abandoned throughout 2016 and 2017, research by the insurance price comparison website Confused.com has shown.
Despite having a population less than half the size of the Belfast City Council area, the Derry City and Strabane District Council area was found to be the area worst affected by the problem of abandoned cars. During 2016 and 2017, 119 cars were reported abandoned in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.
Removing these abandoned cars proved to be expensive for local authorities, the research found.
The removal of 414 vehicles during 2016 and 2017 cost the public purse some £39,494.
Further research carried out on behalf of the website identified rising motoring costs as the main contributor to the proliferation of abandoned vehicles.
Just under a third (30 per cent) of drivers who abandoned a car said they did so because they couldn’t afford to have it towed.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “The rising cost of owning a car is overwhelming some motorists in Northern Ireland, causing some of them to ditch their vehicles.
“Sadly, one of the reasons so many drivers are abandoning their vehicles is due to the cost of car insurance which is now £827 on average.”
Across the UK, 261,724 reports of abandoned vehicles were filed during 2016 and 2017, the research found.