Frequently asked questions

What is the handling of stolen goods?

The handling of stolen goods (Dutch: 'heling') is the acquisition, possession or transfer of stolen property. The handling of stolen goods is a criminal offence. The handling of stolen goods also includes buying stolen property when you had reason to suspect that it was stolen. For example: you can buy a bicycle, mobile phone or car for a price that looks too good to be true. That is almost invariably the case. This is a clear sign that the property is stolen. At www.stopheling.nl or using the Stop Heling app you can check whether goods on offer for sale have been registered with the police as stolen.

Is the handling of stolen goods a criminal offence?

Yes. You can be fined for the handling of stolen goods, and you will also have a criminal record. The handling of stolen goods, is laid down in the Dutch Penal Code. There are three types of handling stolen goods:

  • Knowingly handling stolen goods: a person buys, possesses or sells property while there is good reason believe that the property is stolen. People guilty of this offence face a maximum term of one year's imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of € 78,000.
  • Intentionally handling stolen goods: a person buys, possesses or sells a product in the knowledge that the property is stolen. People guilty of this offence face a maximum term of four years' imprisonment and/or a large fine.
  • Habitually handling stolen goods: a person frequently buys or sells products in the knowledge that they are stolen. That person 'makes a habit' of intentionally handling stolen goods. People guilty of this offence face a maximum term of six years' imprisonment and/or a large fine.

What can I do to prevent the handling of stolen goods as a member of the public?

  • Before buying a product check whether it is registered as stolen at www.stophelding.nl or using the Stop Heling app (see also the question: How can I check whether second-hand property is stolen). Please note: only products reported as stolen on or after 1 January 2010 are listed in the register
  • Always note the serial number when you buy a new product. A serial number is a number on a product that makes the product unique and traceable. This number is generally given under the battery of mobile phones, for example. Shop assistants will generally place this number on the receipt.
  • Note your serial numbers in the Stop Heling app and email them to yourself.
  • If your valuables do not have a serial number, take a photo of them and upload the photo to the Stop Heling app.
  • Always report theft. The police will then be able to help you get your property back. This will also provide the police with more information about people who handle stolen goods and how they operate.

What can I do to prevent the handling of stolen goods as a trader?

Traders are obliged to note all purchases of second-hand products in a purchase register. It is possible to register this information digitally: in the Digitale Opkopers Register, DOR (Digital Buyers Register). The DOR has a direct interface with the police stolen property databases. This means that the police can respond immediately if reported stolen goods are offered for sale.

More information about the DOR is given at www.hetccv.nl/heling.

You can also apply for a DOR account at stopheling@politie.nl

How can I check whether second-hand property is stolen?

  • At Stopheling.nl or with the Stop Heling app you can check whether the offered property is registered as stolen with the police. For that purpose you will need the serial number of the product on offer. You can ask the seller to provide it. /li>
  • How do I check the product?
    • Ask the seller for the serial number.
    • Enter the serial number at stopheling.nl or in the Stop Heling app.
    • No hit generated by the entered serial number? In that case the property is not registered as stolen. You should however be alert if the price is not in proportion to the product on offer.
  • Does the entered serial number correspond to that of an article registered as stolen? In that case you press a report button which takes you to a screen in which - in the case of online trading - you can enter the name of the website, the advertisement number and the email address of the seller. For trading at a shop or market, you enter the name and address of the shop. The police will investigate the matter.
  • Are you going to collect the product that you have bought online? If so, check that the serial number corresponds to the number with which you carried out the check.
  • What is a serial number?

    • A serial number is a unique code that the manufacturer assigns to products from a series. This makes it possible to identify the specific product. A serial number consists of figures or a combination of figures and letters.
    • The serial number should not be confused with the number that some manufacturers assign to a product series: it is not the number of the series but the number within the series.
    • If a product is stolen, it is important to give the serial number in the police report so that the police can identify the product if it is found.

    How can I register property without a serial number?

    • Some valuables such as jewellery, art and antiques do not have a serial number. If you want to register them, you can upload a photograph of them using the Stop Heling app.