Lost and Found

We will always do our best to reunite people with lost possessions. However, if you have lost some property it may be that Cheshire Constabulary is not best placed to help you.

Here’s what to do if you find something.

What should I do?

Taking in found property is not a statutory duty for the police. 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).

Depending on what you have found and where you have found it, we may not be best placed to identify the owner and reunite them with their property.

We will where possible make every effort to reunite an item to its rightful owner; however there are circumstances when we feel someone else is better placed to help you.

Should I report found property to the police?

We will only take found reports for a limited range of items and can be reported over the phone on 101 or in person at a Police Station:

  • Hazardous items, including: firearms, ammunition, explosives, offensive weapons, chemicals, toxins, controlled drugs/medicines or poisons
  • Foreign National Passports (Non-EU), Foreign National ID Cards (Non-EU) and UK Residence Cards
  • Cash above £50.00 (fifty pounds)

All other items of found property should not be reported to Cheshire Police, however take a look at the guidance below for details on what to do next.

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)
  • Airport

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.

Identifiable Documents

If you have found an identifiable document, such as:

  • Driving license
  • UK Passport
  • EU 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.

Unidentifiable Items

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.

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. If still unidentified 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.

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.

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;
  • war medals; or
  • 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 taken reasonable steps to locate the owner such as leaving your contact details at the place of finding, and on the understanding that if the owner comes forward, you must give it back.

Furthermore, you should retain the item for at least 28 days before disposing of it.

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.

Can you help with getting back my property from my partner who I have split up from?

Unfortunately the Police cannot help in this situation as it is a civil matter, please seek advice from a solicitor.

Losing something valuable can be frustrating, difficult or even upsetting and we will always try to help someone who has lost something.

However, we’re not always the best place to report things and there’s only certain things that we can take reports of.

What should I do?

If your property has gone missing, you have to determine whether you believe the item has been lost or stolen. If you are certain your property has been stolen you can report the crime/incident to us – take a look at our Contact us page for details on the different ways that you can do this.

It is important to be aware that the reporting of any lost property to the Police as stolen is a criminal offence.

What lost items should I report to the police?

We will only take lost reports for certain items, specifically:

  • Hazardous Items such as firearms, shotguns, ammunition, explosives, poisons, toxins or chemicals.
  • All Foreign National Passports and ID Cards

You can do this by getting in touch with us in the ways shown on our Contact us page.

All other items of lost property should not be reported to Cheshire Police, however take a look at the guidance below for details on what to do next.

What if it’s not one of those?

If you lose any of the identifiable documents listed here you should make direct contact with the issuing authority/provider to notify them of the loss. They will tell you what to do next.

For any other items not already listed, you can report the loss for free through Report My Loss. Just visit http://www.reportmyloss.com/uk to find out what to do.

Lost something in a public place?

Dependent upon what you have lost and where you have lost it, we might not be best placed to help re-unite you with your possession/s.

If you have lost something while out and about, first try to re-trace your steps and contact the places you've visited to see if they have it.

If you think you have lost your property in a public place/premises or on public transport, such as any of those listed below you should contact them directly as they often have their own lost and found property service.

Lost something outside of Cheshire?

If you have lost your property when you were outside of Cheshire, you should contact the appropriate police force to report the matter. Find a list of Forces across the country here: https://www.police.uk/contact/force-websites/

Alternatively you can report it online via Report My Loss (http://www.reportmyloss.com/uk); however a fee may apply dependent upon which police force area you have lost your item.

Identifiable documents

  • 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)

Public places/premises or public transport

  • Licensed premises (pubs, bars, nightclubs)
  • Private premises (house, hotel, hostel)
  • Business premises (restaurants, shops, supermarkets, office, entertainment venues)
  • Educational premises (schools, universities, colleges)
  • Public transport (trains, buses, trams)
  • Taxis (including Private Hire vehicles)
  • Airport

If you lose your dog call your local Council, the dog warden may have picked your dog up as a stray.  You can also call the local vets or refuge centre to see if your animal has been handed in.

Where the item is a pedal cycle, we recommend that you register and report the item lost at www.bikeregister.com.

Report a lost or stolen phone straight away

If you’re on a contract and you lose your phone or it’s stolen you should report it to your mobile phone provider immediately so they can block it and stop anyone else using it. If you don’t tell them straight away you might have to pay for any unauthorised phone calls, which can be very expensive.

Some network providers have signed up to a £100 'liability cap', which means you'll only be liable to pay for the first £100 of your phone bill if your phone is lost or stolen. This cap is only activated if you report your phone as lost or stolen within 24 hours of going missing and you may still be liable for any calls made using your phone until you have reported it or any calls made to an international number.

Report My Loss

If a reference number is required to claim a replacement from an insurance provider, this can be obtain by reporting this through Report My Loss. This is available here https://www.reportmyloss.com/uk

Set a cap

Ask your provider to put a cap on the amount of charges that you run up outside of your tariff. You might also consider asking your network to bar calls to international and premium rate numbers.

Set a Pin

Set a pin on your handset to make it harder for anyone to use it. This won’t stop fraudsters from taking out the SIM card and using it in another phone so set up a pin on your SIM card as well.

Register your device

Keep a record of the make and model of your phone along with the IMEI number. You can get your IMEI number by keying *#06# into your handset.

You can also use this to register your device on www.immobolise.com, the world's largest  free property register. It can be used by members of the public to register your valued possessions. Anything with a bar code or serial number can be registered, and these items are then linked to the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) which is used by all UK Police forces to trace owners of lost and stolen property.

Found a mobile phone/tablet

If you have found an electronic device, mobile phone or tablet that may contain personal data you should hand the item in to your nearest Police Station or call 101.

Police Helpdesk Locations / Opening Hours:

Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm Monday to Saturday / 8am – 6pm Sundays:

  • Blacon Police Station
  • Crewe Police Station
  • Macclesfield Police Station
  • Northwich Police Station
  • Warrington Police Station
  • Widnes Police Station

Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday:

  • Chester Town Hall Police Station
  • Congleton Police Station
  • Ellesmere Port Police Station
  • Knutsford Police Station
  • Nantwich Police Station
  • Penketh Police Station
  • Runcorn Police Station
  • Stockton Heath Police Station
  • Wilmslow Police Station
  • Winsford Police Station

Opening Hours 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday:

  • Risley Police Station