lost property

What happens to lost property?

All around the country, there are cupboards, offices and warehouses filled with unclaimed lost property. When things go missing, we're not always aware they've disappeared or we have no idea how and where we lost them.

There are various lost property organisations in the country that deal with lost property on public transport, in airports, shops etc. and most of these organisations are very helpful and proactive in helping reunite items with their owners. However, it's not always straight forward because a lot of lost property is usually unidentifiable.

If you lose a hat or an item of clothing on a coach for example, you can get in touch with the carriers lost property office who'll take down some of your details to identify you as the owner. If you lose the same hat or item of clothing in a park for example, nobody has any way of identifying you as the owner. So those items will end up in a lost property office somewhere depending on who finds them and when.

Tag your items for free so that they can be returned to you

iFoundThis is an online service that assists in the recovery of lost property. It lets you tag as many items as you want with an identification code that's specific to you. The tag is either a simple label, key ring or bag tag attached to an item. There is no personal information displayed but the code enables iFoundThis to identify you as the owner. If an item you lose is reported found through iFoundThis, you can choose a suitable recovery method to get your item back. There is a recovery fee but it's only payable if an item you lose is recovered through iFoundThis. The easiest method of recovery is by getting in touch with whoever finds your item, providing they are OK with disclosing their contact details to you.

Tagging an item doesn't stop it being recovered in other ways, through other organisations or a lost property office. It just gives you an additional element of protection that could come in handy in many situations. And because you can tag as many items as you like, you can protect pretty much everything you own that's valuable or not.

What's the law on lost property?

The law around lost property in the UK is a bit dated. In most cases, it is considered an offence if someone finds someone else's lost property and doesn't make a reasonable attempt to locate the owner. It gets even more complicated if the finder sells the item on to someone else because the owner can still claim it back as theirs if they are made aware of its sale. In this case, the law entitles them to any money received through the sale. Typically, if an item is handed in to the police and nobody claims it, the finder can claim it as theirs after 28 days. There are of course exceptions, in particular mobile phones that may contain personal information about the owner. Items like these that aren't reunited with their owner are kept by the police to be destroyed or auctioned off after all data has been guaranteed to be permanently erased.

How do I know my lost property hasn't been stolen?

I left a camera in a taxi once and when I'd realised what I'd done, I immediately contacted the taxi company who told me that the taxi driver couldn't find anything in the cab. Chances are, by the time I'd got in touch with them, someone else who'd got in the taxi had walked away with my camera. I'd lost it, and someone then stole it. It wasn't that valuable but the photos I had on it were. I reported the incident to the police but unfortunately in a situation like this, there isn't much they or anyone else can do. Theft is a general problem in society that is difficult to eradicate. Recovering lost property does rely strongly on the honesty of the people finding it and fortunately the majority of people in the world are very honest and would do the right thing.

Lost property prevention

Aside from tagging your items, always keep them in sight and where possible have an inventory list so you know what items you have when you go somewhere. It makes it easier when you round things up at the end of the day. If you have children, tagging their items is very useful as they tend to forget where they've put things especially when you're out and about.

If your item is tagged with an iFoundThis label, you stand a much better chance of getting it back quickly if you ever lose it. So don't delay, sign up today!

Written by
5th Jun 2019
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