Have you ever stumbled upon a valuable item like a ring, bicycle, or mobile phone while out and about? It can be an exciting discovery, but what should you do next? Understanding the legal course of action when you find something of value is essential to ensure you act responsibly and ethically. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the steps and legal guidelines to follow when you find valuables in the UK.
Step 1: Report the Find
If you find a licence or document with an individual’s address on it, post it back to them. If there is no address but an issuing authority, such as a passport or blue badge, mail it back to the source. For anything else, visit your local police website – they all have links for reporting found property these days. They will ask questions about the find and offer further guidance and next steps.
Step 2: If the police don’t require a report
In situations where the police do not require a report for the found item, your next step involves several important actions to identify the owner:
Check for Identification Labels: Look for any visible markings that could help identify the owner. This includes Immobilise labels, which may feature a QR code or a barcoded serial number, indicating registration on the Immobilise national property register. Additionally, be on the lookout for other third-party marks or labels that might signify registration with a different service.
Visit Immobilise Website: If an Immobilise label is present, visit immobilise.com/search and enter the item’s details. This can help reconnect the item with its rightful owner while keeping their personal information confidential. Through this system, your contact details can be passed on to the owner if they are found.
Make Reasonable Enquiries: Independently of label checks, make reasonable efforts to find the owner. This could include asking people nearby, in offices, or shops, and considering leaving a note with your details. If the item was found on private property, such as a shop, pub, or workplace, inform the owner of the land or building.
Step 3: Where neither of the above applies
If you have exhausted the above, the law becomes a little complicated. If you have posted a notice anywhere or asked on local social media groups, we suggest you wait 90 days. If you haven’t heard from anyone after this time, you could consider selling it. However, UK law states that if the rightful owner can prove it’s theirs, you are liable to them for the proceeds, less reasonable storage costs for up to 6 years after the sale. However, this is unlikely to be an issue, mainly since the police process captures higher-value property.
As the vibrant tapestry of autumnal foliage and the seasonal festivities step into the limelight, we also bid farewell to the extended daylight hours as the clocks retreat. Regrettably, these darker evenings often offer opportunities for would-be burglars. Statistics unveil a noticeable uptick in burglary incidents as autumn ushers in, with the recent analysis of home insurance claims drawing a connection to the changing time.
It’s somewhat surprising that many homeowners remain oblivious to the heightened risks that this season brings. A recent survey led by Yale, a renowned authority in home security and the originator of National Home Security Month, disclosed that 62% of Britons harbour no more significant concerns about their home’s security in winter than in summer.
The seasonal transition presents the ideal time to evaluate your home security to ensure the safety of your property during autumn and beyond.
Step 1: Enhance Outdoor security
When fortifying your home’s security, it is prudent to examine your outdoor spaces. Your residence’s exterior is the first defence against potential intruders, and its condition sends a clear message about your commitment to security.
Start by assessing the illumination near your home during the darker hours. Poorly lit exteriors offer malefactors the cover they seek, making it paramount to keep your home’s frontage well-illuminated and visible. Curiously, only 38% of Yale’s recent survey respondents reported using security lighting. Many homeowners could benefit from investing in outdoor motion sensor lighting or employing timers for indoor lighting to simulate occupancy during absence.
The gates enclosing your property represent another potential point of vulnerability for burglars. A neglected or corroded gate can signal lax security and easy access to your home. Ensuring the gate is in good condition is crucial, and fortifying it with high-quality padlocks from a reputable brand can provide an extra layer of security.
In addition to gate security, it is imperative to maintain sturdy fencing around your premises. Broken or missing fence panels can create chinks in your armour, so it’s advisable to replace or repair them for enhanced security.
Only 40% of respondents in Yale’s survey indicated using high fences to bolster home protection, which presents an opportunity for homeowners to enhance security.
A straightforward step to deter opportunistic criminals is securely storing tools and garden equipment. Housing these items in a garden shed or garage ensures they remain out of sight and out of reach. Investing in a cost-effective shed and garage alarm system can provide an added layer of protection.
Furthermore, the upkeep of well-groomed hedges, bushes, and shrubs can discourage burglars from using them for concealment. Pruning low-hanging branches and planting hawthorn bushes can create an additional barrier against potential intruders.
Step 2: Secure All Entry Points
Once you have fortified the exterior of your home, it is crucial to ensure that all locks around your property are in good working order. This includes door and window locks and padlocks on sheds and garages.
The front door is a common point of entry for opportunistic criminals, so it’s essential to have a robust cylinder lock. Consider opting for a 3 Star Cylinder, which offers the highest level of protection and displays its quality to potential intruders.
Additionally, regularly check the condition of window locks and ensure they remain locked, especially at night or when you leave your home.
Step 3: Safeguard Outbuildings
Beyond the security of windows and doors, prioritising the protection of garages, sheds, and outbuildings is equally vital. Ensuring these spaces are locked with high-quality padlocks represents a straightforward measure that safeguards valuable tools and equipment.
A recent survey uncovered that only 15% of respondents considered garage security a pressing concern. However, these areas often house valuable items, making it prudent to invest in their safeguarding.
Consider installing security cameras or a CCTV system to monitor your property and garden remotely for a more intelligent security solution. Modern smart security cameras offer convenient remote monitoring via smartphone apps, providing homeowners with peace of mind.
While only 20% of Brits currently use CCTV cameras in their gardens, these devices act as effective deterrents against opportunistic criminals, making them a good investment.
Step 4: Secure the Interior
Following the enhancement of security measures on the outside of your home and garden, it is imperative to secure the interior. A smart alarm system can be a superb addition to your home security setup. These alarms safeguard your home and can extend protection to your shed and other outbuildings. Smart alarms offer features such as mobile notifications when triggered and remote control via smartphone apps, enabling homeowners to monitor their property from virtually anywhere. Consider augmenting your security with indoor cameras for added peace of mind. These user-friendly devices facilitate remote monitoring of various rooms through smartphone apps, providing extra protection for your possessions and pets.
Step 5: Strengthen Community Bonds
While smart security systems are valuable, we can’t always be present to watch over our homes. Building solid relationships with your neighbours can be a valuable asset, as they are more likely to notice and report any suspicious activity in the neighbourhood.
In some cases, joining Neighbourhood Watch schemes in your local area can enhance collective security efforts, reduce crime rates, and monitor suspicious activity.
References: Churchill Home Insurance, 2021 A poll of 2000 UK Adults (Nationally Representative) run by OnePoll, commissioned by Yale UK, 2022
Items registered (for free) on the Immobilise database are then visible to over 40,000 police officers who can check for matching records when they recover lost or potentially stolen goods.
The team at Recipero work closely with police forces up and down the country to help publicise the benefits of marking your property.
In Essex, burglaries have fallen by half in the last three years, but their police force are always looking at ways to help prevent and reduce the risk of crime even further. We were therefore delighted to help them launch their ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign.
There are simple things we can all do to make our homes and businesses even safer. Property marking deters thieves, can aid in prosecutions and help with any ownership disputes.
We would recommend marking any item that is of value to you either financially or sentimentally.
– Chief Superintendent Leighton Hammett (Essex Police Force Lead for Crime Prevention)
For more information on how property marking works, the different methods you can use, the recommended items to mark and how to register them for free on Immobilise, visit www.essex.police.uk/MakeYourMark
It may surprise you that according to the National Union of Students, as many as one in five students fall victim to property crime whilst at college or university.
Thieves know that student residences are full of expensive gear; laptops, tablets, phones, bikes and cameras provide rich pickings. In fact, the average break-in costs £900 to repair the damage and replace belongings.
A lot of theft is opportunistic – a few simple steps can be enough to make thieves think twice and move on.
When you go out, make sure all windows and doors are locked. It’s an obvious one but double-check!
Check windows for vulnerabilities. Make sure they’re robust, secure and fitted with locks. If they’re not, speak to your landlord or letting agent.
Don’t advertise your valuables to thieves. Ensure your valuables are not visible through windows.
Register your possessions at Immobilise.com. It’s FREE and provides the simplest way to return your property if found after loss or theft.
Keep your gate shut and bolted at all times. Ensure bins don’t make it easy for burglars to climb over walls or fences.
Simulate occupancy with light timers or products like a FakeTV.
Get insurance. It is tempting to save money, but it’s a false economy. Make sure it covers all your stuff.
Bikes should be kept in the school’s designated areas and secured with a D-lock to an immovable object such as a ground-mounted loop. Don’t forget to register the bike at Immobilise.com
Registering your property at Immobilise.com is FREE. You can register property irrespective of any 3rd party labelling used; it’s all accepted!
For 20% off all Immobilise marking products, including TV Simulators and Bike Security Tags at shop.immobilise.com, use code BACKTOSCHOOL22 at the checkout. Discount valid until 31st October 2022.
We thought it was about time CheckMEND had a revamp – we really like it and hope you do too!
The Recipero team have been working away on the new look behind the scenes for the last few months. The CheckMEND service remains the same as users are familiar with, while the design of the report has been simplified to make it easier to understand.
New users can claim a free device check report by registering an account, perfect for instances where someone is planning on buying a second-hand piece of tech and the seller doesn’t already have a CheckMEND certificate.
We’re delighted to announce that thenmpr.com now offers enhanced accessibility features to all its users providing support for seizure safe themes, screen readers, users with cognitive disabilities and support for personal font, size and colour variations. Click the “blue person” icon on the bottom right of the website to experience NMPR your way!
Immobilise is proud to have been awarded Loss Prevention Standard 1224. This is a secure asset register standard and Immobilise is the only register that supports all types of property, to hold this certification. Register bikes to blu-rays, golf clubs to games consoles at immobilise.com . Registration provides maximum protection from second-hand trade and visibility to police and insurers, all working together to reduce theft.
Incredibly, around 14.5 million bikes worth £5 billion have been purchased since lockdowns began. Weekly cycling miles in the UK are estimated at more than one billion! It goes to show how accustomed we’ve become to two wheels for travel, leisure and exercise. What more can we do to protect one of our favourite possessions? Here is a must-read article for bike owners: