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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71142
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently found £100 cash in a Tesco carpark and handed into

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I recently found £100 cash in a Tesco carpark and handed into the store. They gave me a receipt for this. I enquired the next day as to whether anyone had claimed it to which they hadn't. I was then told that the store would retain the cash for three months and then I could 'claim' it. (as a retired police officer I appreciate that legally the cash would never be mine and I would have to reimburse the rightful owner of they forward at any point in the future). The police retain property for 28 days before the finder can claim it. I have emailed Tesco head office and they state that after 6 weeks, they will put it in a charity and that it wouldn't be returned to me. Can you clarify what the legal position is as to whether I have a right to claim the money if the rightful owner doesn't come forward? Many thanks
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
The legal position with money isn't all that clear cut I'm afraid.
What is clear though is that Tescos are not the owner or the finder and they have no right to dispose of it to a charity which may very well be one of which neither the true owner approve. You could seek an injunction preventing them from disposing of it although for £100 it may not be worth it.
This situation is covered by the law of lost property which does say that ultimately if a true owner cannot be traced then the finder's claim will prevail against anybody else. There are some exceptions though. When large sums of money are handed to the police then sometimes they will seize them under POCA and there has been a case involving a builder who found £18k in a disused flat, handed it and could not recover it because a court accepted it was probably proceeds of crime. Often also it will just be kept in police store.
That said, if you sued Tescos for this sum it is very unlikely they would contest it. They may well win at court but they would just settle to avoid the manpower costs.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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