If you lose an item in a public place, or have found an item of value you believe belongs to somebody, then the information below will help you to understand what to do.
Property lost in a public place
If you have lost an item, we recommend you always retrace your steps and make enquiries in the area(s) it may have been misplaced.
Lost property reference numbers
We will not record lost property or provide lost property reference numbers for items such as:
- Lost mobile phones: Instead, you can record this yourself on www.immobilise.com.
- Items with an issuing authority e.g. driving licences, UK passports, bank cards, ID cards, blue disabled badges, bank statements, travel documents). Please report the loss to the relevant issuing authority.
If you have been directed to report your loss to the police by your insurance company or mobile phone service provider, please inform them that we no longer provide reference numbers. You may download our standard letter from the 'Related Documents' section to help you explain this.
If the item has a serial number you can record a loss at www.immobilise.com or www.bikeregister.com.
Property found in a public place
If you find any of the below items you are advised to contact us for advice on 101, or in an emergency i.e. if the item poses a danger or harm to others dial 999.
- Items you believe may be linked to a crime
- Non-UK passports
- Illegal drugs/unidentifiable substances or other items that may pose a danger or harm to others
- Pornographic material
- Electronic devices (tablets, ipads, laptops etc.) and mobile phones.
If you have found any items not listed above, you have a legal responsibility to make reasonable efforts to find the owner. Consider enquiries in nearby premises, placing an advertisement in the local newspapers, utilise social media sites or leave a note with your details.
You should report any items which have an issuing authority (e.g. driving licences, birth/death/marriage certificates, UK passports) to the relevant authority.
For more specific property advice, please see expanded details below.
What to do with specific items
Found UK passports should be returned to the passport office (Passport Returns, General Section, PO Box 215, Peterborough, Cambs, PB11QQ). Prior to posting any passports, cut the top right corner of the front and back cover and the person details page.
You must report the loss of a passport to Her Majesty's Passport Office (HM Passport Office) by calling the Passport Advice Line (Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm, weekends and public holidays 9am - 5.30pm) on 0300 222 0000 as soon as possible in order to help prevent future misuse of the document.
Found non-UK passports should be reported to the police as soon as possible.
UK Driving Licences and Identity Cards
If you have lost a UK driving licence, please report it to the DVLA. Any found UK driving licences should be returned to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB.
Any other lost/found identity cards should be reported to the relevant issuing authority.
Birth, marriage, death certificates
The General Register Office ask that you destroy any birth, marriage or death certificates found in order to prevent fraudulent use.
If you have lost your house keys then in the first instance you should contact a local locksmith or your insurance company who will contact one on your behalf. The locksmith will get you into your house with the minimum of damage and be able to fit new locks to ensure that your property is safe.
If you have lost your car keys you need to contact the manufacturer of your vehicle who will obtain replacement keys. Modern vehicles with immobilisers may require specialist keys with transponders that can only be obtained from the manufacturer.
If you have a spare key to the vehicle you can use this to gain entry to the vehicle and should try to obtain this to get your vehicle home or to a garage.
The Master Locksmiths Association's website can help you find a registered locksmith.
Follow the instructions on the back of the bank card or statement.
Any other official documents
Any lost or found documents should be reported to the relevant issuing authority.
Any found electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, cameras and mobile phones please contact for advice on 101.
If you find a mobile phone please contact for advice on 101.
If you have lost a mobile phone, contact your service provider who may block your phone and arrange a replacement.
Found bicycles should be reported to your local council.
If you have lost any prescription drugs or medicines, contact your GP/medical practitioner. Re-trace your steps and make enquiries in the area where you think you may have lost them.
If you find any prescription drugs or medicines please take them to the nearest Pharmacy who will dispose of them safely.
If you find needles in the street, your local council has a duty to remove
these. Prior to contacting your council ensure that you do not touch the item,
which includes placing them in a bin. You can find your local council's contact
details on our Needles page.
Blue disabled parking permits
Any lost or found disabled parking permits should be reported to your local council.
Property lost or found elsewhere
If the item was lost or found on private property (including shops,
restaurants or pubs) or on public transport (including taxis, trains or
coaches) we recommend that you contact the establishment or transport provider
where the item was lost or found – they often have their own property records.