View Full Version : A question for our legal bods (or anyone else who knows the answer.)
3rd Aug 2004, 10:54
Over the years I have found all manner of interesting (and valuable) items such as a gold watch, a silver charm bracelet, a multimeter and a wallet full of money. All these items have been taken to the local police station where they have been duly recorded and signed for. Some three months after the event they have been returned to me and, as far as the police are concerned, are now mine.
My question is this ... at what point, if ever, do the things I find actually become my property? The gold watch, for example was clearly a gift and bears an inscription on the back that says it is from "A" to "B" etc. but since they are first names, there is little chance of ever finding the owner. So, what would happen if, some years down the track, someone was able to identify it as theirs? Is it theirs or is it mine? So far no one has been able to answer the question for me.
People I've asked usually say they would keep it or they would hand it over but that's not what I want to know. I want to know who actually owns it.
Does anyone know the answer?
3rd Aug 2004, 11:28
The law says it becomes your property after 3months, but there is nothing to stop you handing the watch back if you so desire. The watch after all has no emotional value to you.
The money would be long gone, and as for the Multimeter well i'd keep that as well , after all I am an Avtrician with growing kids.
3rd Aug 2004, 11:55
Thanks, Avtrician, that's what I needed to know. The multimeter was donated to Mr. Diamond for his electronics work, the money was put to good use etc.. But I've always had this naggy back-of-the-mind thing saying, "What if it's not really yours."
So now I know. Thanks. :ok:
the wizard of auz
3rd Aug 2004, 13:34
I've got a naggy-back of the mind thing too............... she spends money quicker than I can earn it, and can't cook for sh1t. :}
3rd Aug 2004, 13:37
Have you tried taking the item to the police station, Wiz to see if someone cares to make a claim?
I'd check and see if there is an amnesty in force before trying to hand in a dangerous weapon.... :E
3rd Aug 2004, 16:14
Crikey! An entirely Western Australian thread (if peripatetic ORAC is indeed from these blessed shores):ok:
3rd Aug 2004, 16:28
Some of the property that turns up at police auctions is amazing easily recognised rare antiques, jewelry works of art ect, all recovered robbery loot, yet no one comes forward to claim same,tiz obvious why not, the owners have already done very nicely out of the insurance thank you very much.
Mate of mine got his car radio stolen, police called him in after loads of car radios were recovered from a nearby house, and he identified his (twas a good un) months later after the case was finished he was asked to go down and collect his property, he got there late, all the radios were gone including his, except for a tatty piece of cheap crap, he was not best chuffed.
4th Aug 2004, 08:09
Heck!!!! a non West Ozy got in, who is checking the doors.
A mate at work went to the police auctions, and asked to look at one of the items ( a digital camera), It couldnt be found, Stolen from the cop shop ?????
They were not to impressed.
Just heard on the news also, that a load of wacky weed was being held in an empty cell at a cop shop, some one did some gardening and cleaned out the weeds .
4th Aug 2004, 08:14
A few years ago a mate of mine, who was working on the Swanage railway, went to check some trucks in a siding. He found that one of them had been rigged up as a greenhouse and had some 'herbal tobacco' plants in it so he reported it to plod.
They removed the plants to the local police station (a sub-station for Bournemouth), notified the drug squad at the main office and waited for them to collect the plants. Two months later they had some of the best and bushiest cannabis plants seen in the front window of the nick (they had to keep watering them or the evidence would have died).
4th Aug 2004, 08:21
Bugger me backwards - now look what you've gone and done Drapes - another non West Aussie jumped aboard!!
Avtrician Digital camera nicked from behind the counter in the cop shop and, horror of horrors, a goodly amount of whacky backy missing as well. Couldn't happen in Perth or Freo could it? Or then again.....
Don Hancock was innocent............or not:yuk:
5th Aug 2004, 00:11
Weeding done at Freo, and photography at Midland.
Now exiting and closing door behind me.
5th Aug 2004, 08:56
In England the person loosing the item remains the owner and could recover it 6 years from the date you obtained possession of it from the police. 6 years in the limitation period after which they could not bring an action for wrongful possession. The exception to this is if the have abandoned the article; a bit unlikely if it is just lost.
The police have a procedure they can use to enable them to hand over property to the person who seems to have the best claim to it. They get an order from the Magistrates. However this order merely gets the police off the hook. The true owner can still come along and claim his property from the person in possession.
5th Aug 2004, 09:13
That's interesting, Justiciar. I have often wondered what would happen if the item in question was truly valuable (financially or sentimentally) and was recognised many years later by the original owner. To my mind, that person was always the owner, albeit temporarily dispossessed, and the finder of the said item was a kind of custodian. Apparently that is not the case here and one does indeed own a found item after the passage of three months.
5th Aug 2004, 09:18
Photographs. Always have a full set of photographs of your valuables, and its really helpful in the case of jewellery and the like to be photographed actually wearing it.
5th Aug 2004, 10:20
If I went to Boots to get a photo of my most valuable possesions developed I would probably get arrested!!! :E
5th Aug 2004, 10:24
Well that's a shame, MadsDad because the insurance companies recommend you take photos of your valuable bits in case they are ever lost or stolen.