Lost and found

Finding an abandoned explosive or flare

If you find any item or substance that you consider an explosive:

  • Do not touch it or move it
  • Do not take it to a police station

Phone the police on 999 or 101 and be ready to give a description of what you have found (whatever can be seen without handling the item) and where it is.

If military debris is found on military ranges on Dartmoor, do not touch as it may be dangerous. Mark the area, note the location and inform the Commandant on 01837 650010 or police on 101.

If you find a marine distress flare on a beach or below the high water mark, you need to contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on 999 or hand it into the nearest local Coastguard station.

Lost explosives

A person who acquires possession of, keeps, loads, unloads or transports any relevant explosives or is the occupier of a place where it is loaded or unloaded on a journey must ensure that the loss of any relevant explosive is reported forthwith to the Chief Officer of Police for the police area in which the loss has occurred.

All losses must be reported by the fastest practical means, such as telephone, email or fax, and should contain as much information available.

A written report confirming the details should be forwarded as soon as reasonably practicable after the initial report. 

Information that should be recorded:

  • The date and time that the loss was first discovered.
  • Where the discovery was made.
  • A description of each type of relevant explosive that has been lost, sufficient to distinguish that type from other explosives which are similar.
  • For each type lost:
    • The number of articles lost or the total nominal mass of each type of explosive substance lost, except in the case of a substance in cartridge form when the number of cartridges lost may be given.

You do not have to report a discrepancy in record-keeping if it is not a genuine loss. If in doubt, inform the Police Explosives Liaison Officer.


Explosives Licensing team
Firearms and Explosives Licensing Unit
Devon & Cornwall Police
Middlemoor, Exeter
Tel: 01392 226221

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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