Lost, found and stolen property
Reporting lost property
If you can’t find a personal property item, make sure you contact any places where you may have left it before reporting it as lost to police. Then if you still cannot find your property, complete the report lost property form online. You will receive an email within 48 hours with your police reference number.
Use this form only if you:
- have an email address
- you do not know where the property is, and the property was not stolen (taken by theft, burglary, robbery or by force)
- you know where the property is, but it cannot be retrieved, for example the property has fallen from a boat into the ocean, fallen down a drain, etc.
Do not use this form if your property has been deliberately taken.
If you find property that someone has obviously lost, take it to your local police station.
If you find goods or money, you can’t keep them. In fact, police can charge you for keeping goods or money you’ve found that you don’t hand in.
If you tell the police that you’ve found something of value, they may later return the goods to you if they can’t find the owner.
You can report stolen property online.
Property that someone has left with you
If someone leaves property with you, this is called bailment. Under the law of bailment, you must take reasonable care of the goods and not damage them or take them from the owner.
If you get rid of someone's property, you may be responsible to the owner for its value or even be charged with theft.
If the person refuses to take the property back, you’re still legally responsible for it unless you come to an agreement with the owner. In this situation, you should get legal advice.
Identifying your property
Property identification is useful when your property has been stolen, but also when you’ve lost it.
Find out how to mark your property.