IN EVERY police station there is a treasure trove of mislaid possessions cluttering up the shelves.
But rather than the classic inventory of keys and mobile phones, officers across the Lothians have been cataloguing kayaks, a street bollard and even a B&Q trolley.
More than 50,000 misplaced or unloved items have been stored since 2009 – with several bizarre objects conspicuous in the yield.
Spectacles and – strangely – dogs, routinely feature in the police lost property top ten chart, but in the last two years more unusual goods such as carrier bags of alcohol, a sword, a loudhailer, hearing aids, tents and even a garden bench have been handed to bemused officers at Lothian and Borders Police.
Other surrendered articles include wheelchairs, false teeth, three canoes, lawnmowers, prams, walking sticks, a giant cuddly toy, and an empty plastic lunchbox, while household items also get a good showing with microwaves, vacuum cleaners and parcel shelves submitted by the public.
In total, 51,354 items were formally lodged with the police custodier between August 2009 and August 2011. Low value items, such as umbrellas, often received from shopping centres and leisure facilities have not been formally lodged and are not included within the figures. A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “The force receives a wide variety of lost property, and every item is meticulously classified and recorded. Every effort is made to trace and contact the rightful owner and return items to them.”
Police revealed that, under law, property is held by the custodier for two months to allow owners to reclaim their goods.
If no claim is made, or if the owner cannot be traced, it is “finders keepers” for the person who handed the item in. They then have a further month to collect it before it is destroyed, recycled or sent to auction.
Data relating to how many lost property items went on to be claimed, or how many turned out to be stolen goods, were not revealed by police under Freedom of Information.
The list of quirky lost property comes after the Evening News told last year how passengers had left a pair of breast implants, a 2ft stuffed seagull, a robotic talking monkey and a mannequin’s head on city buses.
Lothian Buses estimated about 110 mobile phones are found every week, only 20 of which get collected. More than 20 iPods are found weekly, alongside 20 school bags and several games consoles and laptops. Thousands of pairs of specs, books, hats, gloves, walking sticks and other pieces of clothing are also left behind.
Overall, only 60 per cent of lost property is claimed from the city bus firm.