IT IS a mystery which has left police officers scratching their heads – how did lawnmowers, car seats and ladders end up in the lost and found department?
The unusual items are among the 32,000 which ended up amongst the collection of mislaid items stored by Lothian and Borders Police this year.
Passports, bank cards and jewellery routinely find their way into the department.
But in the past year more unusual goods such as car parcel shelves and motorcycle helmets have also been handed in.
In the Capital, 25,939 items ranging from the everyday to the more bizarre were presented to officers at city police stations.
Among the most valuable goods handed in were hi-tech DVD systems, TVs, games consoles and iPods.
Golf clubs, ski poles, binoculars, skateboards and even tents were also handed over to police by members of the public.
Lost property includes items found in the street or other public places by passersby, although many are handed in to police by companies or other organisations after being discovered in places such as buses, shops and sports facilities.
Vehicle-wise, car seats and motorcycle helmets have all found themselves in the lost property storage section at Lothian and Borders Police Fettes HQ.
Worryingly, medicine including insulin pens and medication have also found their way to lost property as have empty gas canisters, knives and even alcohol.
In East and Midlothian, careless civilians managed to lose 3003 items while 3142 items of lost property were handed in to West Lothian police stations.
Items found in the force area are formally lodged then stored by the custodier – the officer in charge of the Lost Property Section, a facility based in police headquarters at Fettes.
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.
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: “Lothian and Borders Police has a wide range of different lost property items and each one is meticulously classified and recorded once we take possession of them.
“The force then undertakes every effort to trace and contact the rightful owner and reunite them with their items.”