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Burglar.com is illegal, coppers claim

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A web site that connects the victims of a burglary with the people who have their property is illegal, according to the police.

Theburglar.com bills itself as a "Link to the underground". There are three ways to register.

1) As a finder. In this category, you are completely anonymous, and theburglar.com guarantees not to pass information on to the police.

2) As a victim. You pay a fee of £5.95 per item which covers a two year period, to post an advertisment for the object you are seeking.

3) As an insurance company. This is the only case in which a subscriber has access to the databse of found items.

Either of the latter two parties can negotiate with the first to determine the value of a reward for the recovery of any items.

A spokesman for the association of chief police officers commented: "This certainly seems to be breaking some laws in this country by selling openly acknowledged stolen goods."

However, the issue is not so clear cut since it involves the Internet. A spokesman for the NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service) says that the problem with Internet crime is that it can be committed in one country, broadcasting the site in a second country and the victim could be in a third. All the laws will be different, so actually working out which ones have been broken is a bit of a headache.

The site has been operating in the US and Denmark for a while, and has recently expanded into the UK. ®

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