I left my handbag and shop staff gave it to a thief

The purpose of this letter, underlying the incident outlined below, is to alert shoppers to the risks present when, inadvertently, leaving wallets/handbags in the store after making a purchase. Customers need to be aware that not all outlets have a strict procedure in such cases.

On December 1 I unwittingly left my handbag in a shop after making a purchase.

I returned to the shop where it was alleged that a member of staff had held up the bag and enquired “has anyone left this bag?”. Up stepped an opportunist and the bag was handed over without question.

Is this ‘de facto’ theft?

Where are the customer safeguards in this ‘practice’?

The police were contacted and statements taken. The following morning the ‘missing’ handbag was found (minus purse, cash and cards) in the safekeeping of an adjacent shop and collected by the police - to be returned to me on proof of ownership.

The question is, should forgetful customers be at risk from opportunists because all retailers do not have rigorous procedures to deal with items left behind by shoppers?

This is particularly important in situations such as during Christmas.

Name and address supplied