My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

What should you do if you find a wallet in the street? 

We have all been there, whether we have been on the receiving end and unlucky enough to lose something, or we’ve come across someone else’s lost property.

It’s not uncommon to drop your keys, misplace your wallet or leave your bag on the bus.

If you do find someone else’s misfortune, your first reaction may be to hand the items into your local police station, but nowadays people are taking it upon themselves to try and reunite people with their lost property using social media.

Lost property on bus

When used correctly, social media can do a lot of good as it’s an easy way to reach people very quickly, and there are plenty of well-known examples of this working. But could you be falling fowl of the law by doing so?

Local residents using Facebook ‘buying and selling’ groups to find property owners are often praised, but can also be challenged by others claiming social media isn’t the appropriate platform. 

After all, if someone does come forward to claim the property, it may be difficult to verify the rightful owner.

So, should you turn the items into the police or can you go it alone and use social media to find the owner?

We spoke with local policing inspector for Pontypridd, Hannah Durham to find out…

What the law says

Hannah Durham, said:

“Anybody who finds property should always make a reasonable effort to locate the rightful owner. This can be done using contact details which may be attached to the property itself, or, many people have successfully used the power of social media.

“Failing that, it’s a good idea to hand property in to a place of relevance – to the bus company, for example, if said items were found on a bus. If it appears to be of significant value or importance, then it can be handed in to a police station. Failing to take reasonable steps to find the owner of lost property could result in that person being accused of theft.”

So those using social media to find property owners are fully within their right to do so, unless the items appear to be of “significant value or importance”. In that case, they should contact the police.

If attempts to trace the rightful owner fail, then the police can be notified.

If it’s likely to be a police matter you should call 101.