Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seized or Recovered?

Art Loss Review Jan 08 - Letter to the Editor


I am trying to encourage people, especially in the media, to correctly apply the terms recovered and seized with respect to stolen goods.

In my view an item is not recovered until it has been proved to have been stolen, and returned to its rightful owners. The police normally seize goods they believe to have been stolen, and these goods remain seized until an owner claims them, at which point they become recovered.

Therefore most of your 'Recovered by Sussex Police' type of ads should say 'Seized by Sussex Police'. When seized goods are not subsequently claimed by their owners, they cannot be defined as recovered, and are often returned to the criminal who allegedly stole them, some time later. These goods could properly be described as released from seizure, but could hardly be called unrecovered. I believe that the police, public and government would better understand the concept of seizure and recovery if the correct words are applied. I would be interested to hear your views.

Yours etc
Thornton Kay
Salvo Llp

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