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Can You Take Things From Other People’s Skips?

Can You Take Things From Other People’s Skips?


Is it Illegal To Skip Dive?

If your neighbours are moving house or decluttering, they may have chosen to hire a skip for a convenient way to dispose of their unwanted things. As the old adage goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, and it’s not uncommon to spot a quality item that appears perfectly usable when walking past a skip. You might be tempted to retrieve discarded items from a skip – after all, they’ll only be thrown away, so what’s the harm?

But is this actually allowed? Or is skip diving illegal? The team here at SCS Waste is here to ensure you don’t inadvertently get into trouble.

Is it actually being thrown away?

When having a clearout or carrying out some renovations, it can be difficult to stay organised. Often, a skip may be used as a temporary storage space where items can be kept to reduce clutter while work is ongoing. It’s also common for tradesmen to use a skip as a safe place to temporarily set aside old construction materials that will be recycled for future projects. 

Never assume that items in a skip are fair game to take; under the Theft Act 1968, removing items from a skip without the owner’s permission constitutes a crime and you could find yourself in hot water if caught.

Are you trespassing?

While some skips may have to be put on a public road due to limited space, the majority of people will place their skip on their driveway or in their front garden for convenience. This is private land, so any attempt to access the skip will require trespassing. While trespassing itself isn’t classed as a criminal offence, it is a civil one, and the skip owner might have grounds to take legal action against you.

Ask for permission

As we’ve covered above, taking things from other people’s skips can have some serious consequences if you’re caught. However, all of this unpleasantness could be avoided with just a simple knock at the door. By asking for permission, you escape any legal complications and chances are, the skip owner might even thank you for freeing up some extra space – it’s a win-win! So next time you’re walking past a skip and spot something that catches your eye, why not ask the skip owner’s permission? You could end up snagging yourself a hidden treasure for free!

How to prevent skip diving

If you’re fed up of people taking things from your skip without permission, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Choose an enclosed skip: An enclosed skip features a lockable lid, making it much more difficult for people to access its contents. Here at SCS Waste, we supply enclosed skips in a wide range of sizes.
  • Pick the right location: Placing your skip in a visible and well-lit location can discourage potential trespassers, particularly if your property is equipped with motion sensor lights or CCTV cameras.
  • Opt for a RORO skip: RORO skips are designed for huge amounts of commercial waste and, thanks to their design and vast size, it’s much more challenging to access their contents – you can’t just quickly lean in and grab items like you can with a smaller domestic skip.
  • Schedule frequent pickups: If your business requires ongoing waste management solutions, why not work with a trusted skip hire company like SCS Waste? We can schedule frequent pickups to ensure your skip is never full for too long, making it less attractive to skip divers.
  • Consider a wait and load service: Instead of hiring a skip, why not consider a wait and load service? Simply put all waste materials to one side and have them collected the very same day, leaving no opportunity for them to be taken.


Whatever kind of project you’re taking on, the team at SCS Waste supplies a wide range of secure skips to meet your every need. We’ve been operating across Arundel, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and beyond for more than 20 years – contact us to discuss your needs in more detail.