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When is theft not theft?

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When is theft not theft?

As I am sure many know, taking discarded items from a skip is legally theft.

We had stopped for lunch in a motorway service area. Feeding on fish'n'chips from a well known nationally acclaimed fryer which serves their takeaways in a red box.

It happens I wasn't as hungry as I first though, decided to eat no more than half of the portion. Discarding the half-full box into an almost full bin. The box had been settled on the pile of other take-away packaging for no more than thirty second when it was removed from the bin by a chap who had the appearance of a vagrant, who proceeded to finish off the contents of the red box.

I do not begrudge the obviously hungry man a partial meal, but my question is, does the same principle of illegally taking discarded items from a skip apply to the taking of my discarded partially eaten take-away from a bin?

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Re: When is theft not theft?


petlew wrote:

As I am sure many know, taking discarded items from a skip is legally theft.



But it is not considered "theft" if you have already asked the permission of the owner of the discarded items. ... they still belong to him, until the skip is collected. ( as he may change his mind and decide to remove stuff he "thought " he didn`t want... ) .

 

As regards the "litter bin" incident.... I doubt if the council would press charges..  ( or the owner of the site where the "litter bin" was provided... 

 

 

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Re: When is theft not theft?

Skips and litter bins are two different things.

A skip (and / or your dustbin) are something that are yours - you put your stuff in there knowing that it will be collected on Xday... but until then it's still yours.

A public bin however.. you can't use it for storage of your own stuff. Once you put stuff in there it's property of the bins owner(s) - just like how you dispose of stuff at the household recyling site / tip.

To be honest, if a vagrant came along and grabbed my discarded food, I'd be glad. Not because he's so desparate that he'd do so but because at least it isn't being wasted like I just did. It certainly wouldn't prompt me to ask about the legality of his actions - poor soul has enough on his... shoulders already (Nearly dropped myself in it there).

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Re: When is theft not theft?

I've had my name taken a few times while looking in a shops bin. The reason given in case the shop wants to prosecute.

 

I've always been a bit bemused by that as the bin is in a public area and it doesn't have the regulation locking cage around it.

 

NorthEasterner
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Re: When is theft not theft?

If I purchase a takeaway food such as a McDonalds etc and there's still some nice contents in the packaging, I would offer a homeless person if they'd like to have it.

Should I have some loose coins enough to buy a warm drink, I will do so and kindly give it to the homeless person.  Why waste things when it can go to good and nice use.  Karma will come into effect, do something good and goodness will be returned in a form.

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Re: When is theft not theft?

We're having a new kitchen fitted and had a dishwasher and a double oven taken from alongside a skip, by the main road, overnight. They were working the previous day. Nobody asked permission and I was still considering my options. I did consider, is there an etiquette covering the situation where you leave unwanted items by the road if you are happy for them to be taken by someone who may have a use for them? Undecided

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Re: When is theft not theft?

I should think that "technically" leaving a washing machine or whatever outside your property boundary, could be considered to be "littering" or even " fly tipping "...  by some councils...  However, I have often seen things outside people`s houses with FREE or "Please Take one." ....

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Re: When is theft not theft?

I've had things taken from the yard, things I didn't want taken mostly (hence putting up an IP camera to record the yard), some I did want to get rid of, the "etiquette" of having things taken is if you're not around to say no, they'll take it anyway, even if it involves trespassing and theft of property...

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Re: When is theft not theft?

A couple of years ago we had to have our old central heating boiler replaced. The plumbers left us with the old unit  for our disposal. When I came to move it to the Front Gate I discovered it weighed in excess of 70 Kg. So I put a note on it "For disposal." I added the rider "Caution very heavy" to avoid being sued by whomever acquired the opportunity. When I left the house to go to work some 20 minutes later I discovered the boiler had already gone.  Needless to say this was in London.

I'd say it is legal to scavenge where there is public access and if you have implied permission.

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Re: When is theft not theft?

Quite probably a fairly high proportion of that 70Kg was probably copper. I think old combi boilers and similar are highly prized by the scrap metal fraternity.

Like you, I had a new combi installed about three weeks ago, the installer was on the phone moments after the old one was off the wall, within half-hour it was collected by a scrap dealer.

We have a rag-and-bone man who circulates around this part of the world every couple of months or so in his shiny Transit pick-up, he's not interested in rags or bones, but certainly takes away old fridges and freezers etc.

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Re: When is theft not theft?

Google...  " Thirteen ways you might accidentally break the law"... and you will get this as one of them

 

"•    If you take fruit from a neighbour’s tree – even if it overhangs onto your land – it can constitute theft. "

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Re: When is theft not theft?


shutter wrote:

Google...  " Thirteen ways you might accidentally break the law"


Whoever decided on thirteen clearly wasn't being nearly imaginative enough, there's plenty around here know and practise way, way more than thirteen ways of breaking the law.  

Oh, I see 'accidentally' - missed that. Cheesy

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Re: When is theft not theft?

There is a scrap man who works our area around once a week.

I've put unwanted metal objects out on the front of the house as do others.

When I have seen him he always has a fully laden lorry so it must be a 'nice little earner'

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Re: When is theft not theft?

Funny thing though.. scrap value is at an all time low - the steelworks industry is up the swanny remember?

I filled up an entire skip with scrap metal a while back.. I kid you not I had tons of the stuff (old car parts etc).

How much did I get? -£10. Yes thats right, I had to pay them to take it.

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Re: When is theft not theft?

Not that long ago there used to be an almost permanent virtual mountain of scrap piled on some dock land.

Every so often a cargo ship would be filled up and back to China it would go.

 

I understand it used to be a very lucrative business.