WOULD you pocket £20 if you spotted it on a shop floor?

This video has sparked a debate over whether and when it is ok to keep money that you find in a public place.

At around 11.30am on Saturday, March 2, a customer dropped £20 in Millennium Micros in the town centre.

The CCTV clip shows a passer-by outside the shop spotting the two £10 notes, walking in, taking the money and leaving.

Lawrence Coulson from the Cockhedge Shopping Centre mobile phone repair shop said that the incident had been reported to the police.

He added: “A customer was in the shop, but just as they were about to pay for their phone repair they said that they had lost some money.

“We looked round but did not find it.

“I could see on the CCTV him dropping the money, then after about a minute or two a man walks into the shop with his partner.

“He clearly sees the money on the floor from outside the shop, walks in, picks it up then leaves without saying a word to us.

“This is just theft from this couple - they need to pay this money back to the man that dropped it.

“They just walked in and took it - it's the same as if they had walked in and took items, it was wrong of them.

“Watching it back, I’m just gobsmacked they did this.”

Is it illegal to pick up money from the floor?

In 2017 a woman in Stoke-on-Trent hit the headlines after she was convicted for theft after keeping a £20 note she found in a shop. 

Police said she was caught on CCTV picking up the cash after it was dropped by a customer who withdrew it from a nearby cash machine.

The case was met with shock and alarm on social media by many people who would have done the same thing. 

What does the law say?

The Theft Act 1968 reads: "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

"A person's appropriation of property belonging to another is not to be regarded as dishonest… if he appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps."

Speaking at the time to the BBC, Prof Robert Chambers, an expert in private law at King's College London, said the location of the discovery is a big factor.

He added: "If you are on the street you could reasonably believe you don't have a chance of finding the person who lost what you found. 

"Whereas if you find a lost object in a shop it may not be so difficult to find the person who lost it [by asking in the shop].

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"If you make a reasonable attempt to find the person who lost it and they don't come forward, you could keep [your discovery] with a clear conscience."