Skip Diving - Is this legal?

Skip Diving – Is this legal?

23 April 2018

We’ve all heard the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, But does this mean it’s okay for someone to go rummaging through skips?

English Law states:

“A person commits theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it”.

Meaning if you don’t check with the owners before skip diving, you could land yourself in a pickle.

But why would they be bothered you ask?

You’d assume that if someone has put things into a skip, it’s because they no longer want those items, whether it be bricks, furniture, toys etc, skips are a national symbol of waste. Sadly, this is not always the case. There are a few varying factors to consider before taking something from a skip:

Where is the skip located?

If a skip is on private land, which is most commonly the case, you could be breaching other laws by skip diving, such as trespassing. Just because someone has a skip on their property, it doesn’t mean they want people wondering in and out of their driveway/garage/land to see what pieces of interest they might find. To some, it may seem a nuisance, especially when you consider things such as dogs barking because someone is outside.

Who is loading the skip?

Is it the owners themselves, or an external building team? This could mean things have slipped into the skip that shouldn’t necessarily have. If this is the case, the owners may not in, or may not have already noticed, so you could end up taking something that was never supposed to be there in the first place.

What is the skip being used for?

The items are not necessarily waste, in some situations, they could be kept in there for the time being to prevent tripping hazards, or with the intention of selling for scrap. Without asking the owners, you wouldn’t know whether the products are for the taking.

It is always best to cover yourself, and ask the property owners, or builders working on the project, whether you can go through the skip or not. Majority of the time, the answer is likely to be yes, but if you don’t ask, you won’t know.

What could happen?

They could change their mind

People may not realise that what they are disposing of could be of value. If you were to just take something from their skip without asking, and they were to notice, they may change their mind about wanting to keep the product after realising it could be worth something and therefore act against you for taking their property without permission.

There may be a reason it’s in there

The chances are, if something is in a skip, it’s in there for a reason. Maybe it is something you could fix up, but the original owners may have tried everything and had no luck. If you ask before skip diving, they may be able to advise you on what is possibly worth anything, rather than you having to find out for yourself once you’ve got it home.

The owners may want to double check what’s in there

If there are multiple people putting stuff into the tip, there is a good chance that something one person wanted to keep, was thrown in by someone else. If you ask, they may want to just watch what you do take for if this happens to be the case.

But there could be some benefits

It could save on waste

Whether this be by freeing up some space in the skip, or reducing the removal cost, you could actually be doing the owners a favour.

They may be happy seeing the item going to a good home

We’ve all been in the position where we have something we want but we just don’t have the room to justify keeping it. So if these kind of items happen to end up in the skip, seeing it going to a good home who will make use of it could make the previous owners happy.

Skips are used for the disposal of many things, such as;

  • Bricks still in tact from a knocked down walls
  • Concrete slabs for paving
  • Broken or unwanted things for at home DIY projects
  • Bikes and toys in need of a little TLC

So if you ask the owner before skip diving, you really could find yourself a gem.

Just remember: Never put something into someone else’s skip without asking!!

For details on hiring a skip or other waste services get in touch with our team.