It’s every treasure hunter’s dream: To stumble across something of real value, unexpected and a once-in-a-lifetime find.
Plenty of people have found old safes only to be disappointed by their lack of content, or they’ve found large sums of money that are determined to be dirty or otherwise owned.
Being notoriously hard to break into, many old safes often end up at scrapyards, where workers have the tough task of breaking them down. That was certainly true for Sackers Scrap Metal & Waste, based in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
“We often get safes in and we tend to store them up as they are quite difficult to deal with,” Kevin Harrington, the yard manager, told the Ipswich Star. “We had about eight in at the time when we started snipping them.”
But after cutting up three of the old safes, they discovered that one still contained a treasure that it had been holding onto for some time.
“It had been in there a long while, the money was very dusty and we didn’t count it all but we guestimate that there was £20,000 in there but not all legal tender any more which shows how long it had been left for,” Harrington said.
That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $26,000. Of course, the discovery didn’t mean the finders were the keepers — Sackers decided to do things the right way and got the police involved.
“The suspicion is it could have been an old factory that was due for demolition and it was in the corner of their offices,” David Dodds, the managing director, said, according to BBC.
“When it’s demolished then all the scrap goes into the bin, comes into the works and then we treat it.”
The news started to spread, and it wasn’t long before people tried to claim the long-lost money.
“We announced we found the money in June and handed it to the police,” marketing manager Helen Crapnell said, according to Daily Mail. “We had a few people try and claim it from us, and the police also had someone claim it was theirs, but nothing came of those.”
“The police couldn’t prove it was proceeds of crime, so we had our day in court and the magistrate heard about the charities we wanted to give the money to.”
Sackers had decided that if the court ruled in its favor, the company would donate the windfall to worthy charities. In early December, the company posted on its Facebook page to announce its win.
“So today we attended court which was a new experience for us,” a representative wrote in a Dec. 9 Facebook post. “We went to find out if we could get the money back from the police that we found in the locked safe, in April.”
“Gratefully we discovered we WILL be getting it back so we can choose what happens to it. Our next step on this journey will be a trip to the Bank of England to have the old tender changed to new tender ready to donate to two well deserved, local charities.”
“The charities we have chosen will be St Elizabeth Hospice and EACH [East Anglian Children’s Hospice].”
“We wanted to give the money to somewhere local so it could really make a difference,” Crapnell explained.
“We’re so pleased that they have decided to split the findings with the hospice and EACH,” Liz Baldwin, the corporate account executive for the hospice, said. “It’s such a lovely surprise for us just before Christmas.”
“We’re very grateful to hear of the company’s intention to make another such generous donation,” Rachel Dally, corporate fundraising assistant for EACH, added.
This was a lovely way to support their community and help out two worthy causes with the treasure they’d stumbled upon — and it’s just a little extra special that it’s all been settled just in time for Christmas.
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