Here’s what to do if you find something.
Should I report found property to the police?
Taking in found property is not a statutory duty for the police.
GMP will not accept and record found property except under certain circumstances where retention is not permitted. The exceptions are:
- Where the finder is a paid or unpaid servant of the Police service
- Where the property was found on police premises, in a police vehicle, in a vehicle hired to police or otherwise used by police
- Where the property is suspected of being of evidential value or could be used to support the commission of offences
- Where it would be unlawful for the finder to retain the property
- Where in the opinion of an approved person it would be unwise to retain the property
Accepted and Recorded
Something is appropriate or legally required to be bought to a police station.
Unless they happen to meet one of the over caveats listed above as an exception.
Items containing personal data e.g. laptops and mobiles
Cash within wallets that are identifiable
Empty handbags, wallets and purses
Items suspected of being involved in a crime
Firearms and Ammunition
Watches (except if capable of containing personal data)
The following found property can be returned directly to the provider e.g. driving license to the DVLA. There is no requirement to bring these items into a police station, unless they meet one of the over caveats listed above as an exception.
- Passports (UK and Foreign)
- Bank Cards
- ID Cards
- Personal documentation e.g. bank statements
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Driving Licenses
What should I do?
If you have found someone's property, your legal obligation is to try to reunite it with the owner. In all cases reasonable steps to trace the owner should be made. You could do this by:
- handing the item in at the location of finding;
- asking people who are nearby/live nearby to where you found the item;
- leaving your contact details at the place of find so that the owner may contact you;
- putting up a notice near to where you found the item i.e. placing an advert in a shop or post office window, use a community noticeboard, or posters at the location of find; or
- Posting it on local/community social media pages (e.g. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram)
Found something in a public place?
If you have found an item in a public place/premises or on public transport, such as:
- Licensed premises (pubs, bars, nightclubs)
- Private premises (house, hotel, hostel)
- Business premises (restaurants, shops, supermarkets, offices, entertainment venues)
- Educational premises (schools, universities, colleges)
- Public transport (trains, buses, trams)
- Taxis (including Private Hire vehicles)
You should make direct contact at the time of finding to notify them that an item has being found. They usually operate their own lost and found property service and are best placed to deal with the enquiry. It is also likely that the owner will look for their lost item at locations where they have previously visited.
If you have found an identifiable document, such as:
- Driving license
- UK Passport
- National Insurance Card
- Identity Card (except Foreign National ID Card)
- Bank Card, Credit Card or Cheque Book
- Birth, Adoption, Death, Marriage and Civil Partnership Certificates
- Blue Disabled Badge
- Travel Pass (e.g. Bus Pass, Metrolink Pass, Rail Card)
These should be returned directly to the issuing authority/provider e.g. UK Passports should be returned to HM Passport Office, bus passes should be returned to Transport for Greater Manchester.
Electronic Devices / Mobile Phone
If you have found an electronic device or mobile phone that may contain personal data you should hand the item in to your nearest Public Enquiry Counter. Just enter your postcode into the box at the top of this page to find out where it is.
If you have found someone’s property your legal obligation is to try and reunite it with the owner. In all cases reasonable steps to trace the owner should be made. However, we do appreciate it’s not always possible do this -
For unidentifiable or low value property items such as empty handbags, cases, wallets, purses, clothing, perishable goods, umbrellas, glasses etc., you should take reasonable steps to trace the owner but, if still unidentified and there is nothing further that you can do to trace the owner, you can take possession of the item or dispose of it.
Can I keep the item of found property?
In Law, the finder of the property usually has the right to retain possession. This does not apply over and above the rights of the real owner of the property or, in some circumstances, the owner of the land where the property was found.
In addition, you can't keep the item if:
- you keeping it would be unlawful, for example firearms, drugs, explosives, offensive weapons etc (you must call us on 101)
- we believe it's related to a crime, for example a large sum of cash, a weapon, the location where it was found was unusual (call us on 101 so we can check)
- it poses a direct threat to the public (for example, Hazardous items, including: firearms, ammunition, explosives, offensive weapons, chemicals, toxins, controlled drugs/medicines or poisons);
- it shows someone's identity, may be used fraudulently or to commit other crimes;
- it contains, or potentially contains, personal data;
- it's an official or confidential document. This includes anything belonging to a Government Department or Armed forces, whether UK or foreign; and confidential personal documents which identify an individual (you must contact the issuing organisation).
Can I dispose of it, give it to charity or sell it?
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 and inform them of the reasonable steps you have taken to locate the owner.
Lost and Found Dogs
During Office Hours: Contact Local Council Dog Wardens during office hours.
Out of Office Hours: Contact Animal Wardens Out of Hours / Weekends/ Bank Holidays