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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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An employee has resigned and they are refusing to hand back

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An employee has resigned and they are refusing to hand back my customers keys. Police are digging their heals in saying its a civil natter??
Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.
Alex Hughes : What are the keys for?

I own an animal care company so they are to my customers houses

Alex Hughes : How long has the person had the keys?

She normally deals with these customers but resigned from my company on 23/8/14. I called the police but they told me it was a civil matter. I have since been told that this is not the case.


The keys were handed over to my company and PLI.

Alex Hughes : The only possible offence really is theft. But to prove theft you would have to establish that your ex-employee 'dishonestly' took the keys - which he/she does not appear to have done. For this reason I can see why the police would not want to get involved - technically no criminal offence has been committed. Refusing to return property belonging to an employer is not necessarily a criminal offence. You could complain to the police and see if they will take some action but if they've made a decision they're unlikely to budge. owever, this still leaves you with a civil action against the employee and you could sue him/her for the property. You could ask a solicitor to write a letter and ask for the keys back within 5 working days failing which you could threaten court action.

Ok. My issue is what are done with the keys. If something happens to the properties, who is going to be held responsible?

Alex Hughes : You should let your customers know so they can make adequare preparation. If anything goes wrong you can absolve yourself of responsibility if you've told people what's going on. Anybody who commits an offence will be responsible for their own actions. The bot***** *****ne is you will not be held responsible for somebody else's actions so long as you have told your customers what's going on and put the police on notice.

Ok. Well I have text all of the customers and made them aware that she no longer works for me and the police have also been informed

Alex Hughes : Yes that's the best course of action. The sooner you tell them the better.

Thank you for your help.

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