A scrap yard which discovered £20,000 in cash while dismantling an old safe will donate it to charity after nobody came forward to claim the money.
Staff at Sackers in Suffolk came across the bundles of notes and bags of coins when they cut open the rusting metal safe earlier this year.
The scrap yard handed over the money to the police who made an appeal for the rightful owner to come forward.
Now, a magistrate’s court has ruled Sackers is the legal owner of the found cash, but the firm has decided its unexpected bonanza should be given to two local charities.
When the cash was first found, yard manager Kevin Harrington said the safe in question had hung around the facility for a while as they were waiting to collected eight safes before getting out the equipment to cut them open.
“We’d snipped up three before we found the money,” he said. “It had been in there a long while, the money was very dusty and we didn’t count it all but we guesstimate that there was £20,000 in there, but not all legal tender anymore which shows how long it had been left for.”
A spokesperson for Sackers added the cash was very dusty and wet, which suggested it had been inside the rusting safe for quite some time.
David Dodds, the managing director of the scrap metal dealer, said he suspected the safe had arrived at the scrap yard from an office building which had been knocked down.
“The suspicion is it could have been an old factory that was due for demolition and it was in the corner of their offices,” he told the BBC.
“When it’s demolished then all the scrap goes into the bin, comes into the works and then we treat it.”
After the £20,000 had been given to the police, one person did come forward to claim it belonged to them, Mr Dodds said he had been told.
“But within about 30 nanoseconds [the police] realised they weren’t the correct owner of it,” he said.
Now the cash is back in Sackers’ hands, the firm has decided to donate half to East Anglian Children’s Hospice and half to St Elizabeth Hospice. Both charities are near to the scrap yard.
Liz Baldwin, corporate account executive for St Elizabeth Hospice, said the old money was “an amazing discovery”.
“We’re so pleased that they have decided to split the findings with the hospice and EACH,” she told the BBC. “It’s such a lovely surprise for us just before Christmas.”