Sussex Police is using the Virtual Bumblebee website to help reunite victims of burglary with their stolen property. It has been trialling the online service with recovered goods from the Bognor area, and has today announced that it will extend it to cover the whole of West Sussex.

"These items are waiting to be claimed ? they may be yours," says DS Stuart Hale of Sussex Police.

While most items will belong to those in the Sussex area, Hale points out that many criminals travel to commit burglaries so "victims may ... come from all over Sussex as well as neighbouring Hampshire, Surrey and Kent. We even traced one owner to the United States".

So far Sussex Police have put 275 items into the Virtual Bumblebee database, but this number is set to grow as the service extends over the whole of Sussex and more police officers get involved.

The database, which holds lost or stolen goods submitted by 15 organisations, including other police forces, removal companies, train operators and stations, is easily searchable. You simply type in the item you have lost and it will return all the matching results, along with contact details to allow you to trace them and, if provided, photographs of the items.

If you have found an item you can also use the service to try to trace its owner.

It is a free service and is available to anyone with an internet connection.