If you see a penny, pick it up ...

Scots are not shy of picking up money from the pavement with 43 per cent admitting to bending down for as little as a penny. Pic: Jane Barlow.

Scots are not shy of picking up money from the pavement with 43 per cent admitting to bending down for as little as a penny. Pic: Jane Barlow.

Two in five residents would bend down to pick up a penny ... but the guilt of keeping it is dividing Scotland.

The majority of residents in Scotland (86 per cent) are not shy when it comes to picking up money from the pavement.

Two in five (43 per cent) admit to bending down for as little as a penny and 21 per cent say they actively keep their eyes peeled for cash when out and about.

However, research by TopCashback.co.uk, reveals that Scotland is in a moral dilemma of what to do with the cash – keep it or return it to the owner.

Of those who said they either have or would pick up money from the ground, a gumptious half (54 per cent) would keep it for themselves. Yet a fifth (22 per cent) would donate it to charity and 12 per cent of people would try to return the cash to the rightful owner.

Eight per cent would even give the cash to a homeless person or a busker.

The survey of more than 100 residents in Scotland found that if the person the money belongs to can be identified, then residents tend to be pretty honest and will try to return the cash. However, if there is no one around and the money is left on the floor, then it is ripe for the taking.

Only 21 per cent of people said they would be more likely to hand in money if they were seen picking it up but a huge 86 per cent said if they saw someone drop money on the floor they would chase after them.

However, for 11 per cent of individuals if the person was too far away or out of sight, they would not run after them.

Providing further evidence that Scots are split by guilt, 49 per cent of respondents said they would feel more comfortable keeping money if they found it in a public place whereas 63 per cent of people said they would be more inclined to hand in the cash if they found it in a building or establishment rather than on the pavement.

Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs editor for TopCashback.co.uk said: “Our research shows there’s a moral split amongst residents in Scotland when it comes to what should be done with money found on the ground. Most people try to do the right thing and return cash to its rightful owner. However, when it comes to those lost pennies that can’t be reunited with the owner, they can be a helpful little boost, whether added to a savings pot or simply put towards everyday spending. The old-age saying of ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ seems hugely relevant here.”

There is even a divide on how much money residents would keep for themselves. Of those people who say they would retain money they find on the ground, 30 per cent said there is no limit to the amount of cash they would pocket. However, the same number (30 per cent) say they would only retain up to £10.