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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

Lost and Found FAQs

  • Q:

    If I've found someone else's property can I keep it?

    A:

    You may be able to keep hold of the item you have found on the understanding that if the owner comes forward, you must give it back. If the item is retained by the police and the owner is not identified within 28 days you are entitled to claim it back. There are certain items that members of the public are not allowed to retain and claim under any circumstances. These include mobile phones, identification documents, weapons and war medals. If you find cash, you will not be able to keep hold of it, but will be able to claim it after 28 days.

  • Q:

    Can I throw the found property away or sell it?

    A:

    You can dispose of an item (give to charity or sell it) if you've made reasonable attempts to locate the owner. Please note: if the owner finds the item for sale and is made aware that you sold it, common law entitles them to the money you received from the sale. If you give the item to charity you should advise them that the item is not yours and that you found it.

  • Q:

    If I lose something in a shop, or pub, or on public transport, what will happen?

    A:

    It is unlikely that such items will be handed to the police. Businesses such as shops and pubs and transport companies etc. have their own lost/found procedures. If you think you have lost something whilst you were out and about, before you contact the police, you should retrace your steps and contact premises you've been to or transport companies you have used, to see whether your item has been found by them.

  • Q:

    My insurance company has told me to report the loss to police. Is this right?

    A:

    No. We cannot validate any claim of loss, therefore there is no benefit reporting it to us. Please print off the notice on our Lost Property section and send to your insurance company.

  • Q:

    What happens to unclaimed items?

    A:

    If property is not claimed after 28 days it will be auctioned, recycled or disposed of responsibly. All personal data is removed and securely destroyed.

  • Q:

    What if I lose my property outside of Staffordshire?

    A:

    If you have lost property outside of Staffordshire you should make contact with the police force where the loss took place. See https://www.police.uk/contact/force-websites/ for links to individual UK police force websites.

  • Q:

    Can I claim a mobile phone I found if it is not returned to the owner?

    A:

    You can't claim a mobile phone that has been handed in to the police. The police can't give a mobile phone to the finder as it may contain personal data about the owner.