If you walked up to a cash machine to find some money already sticking out of it, would you feel like it’s your lucky day and take it without a second thought?
Or perhaps you’d be honest and hand it in to the bank or police? Or would you take it, but feel a twang of guilt for the rest of day?
If you chose the first option, you’re not alone, as researchers who carried out a detailed study found almost half of us would pocket cash left behind by someone else at an ATM.
They also found four in 10 Brits admit to being dishonest and would happily lie if they thought they could get away with it.
Another 53 per cent admitted they’d keep quiet if they were given more change than they were owed in a shop.
One third even confessed they’d keep £250,000 that didn’t belong to them – if they knew they could get away with it.
It also emerged the average Brit tells at least one lie a day, despite 78 per cent considering honesty to be the most important quality in someone.
Ray Howard, detective on The Heist, a brand new Sky One series which commissioned the research to mark the launch of the show, said:
It is interesting to see how people are more willing to lie if they thought they could get away with a cash reward.
Whilst most people will refrain from doing things they know are unacceptable, the difference between how honest we believe we are, and the amount of dishonest acts we commit, shows we never know how we will react when you are put in a certain situation.
The study of 2,000 adults found 14 per cent would immediately pocket cash left in an ATM, no questions asked.
Another 32 per cent said they’d have a quick look around for the person it could belong to – but then keep it if there was no one nearby.
Sadly, just 35 per cent said they’d hand it into the bank or police.
It’s not just money where Brits are lacking in honesty though, with just three in 10 saying they’d tell their friend if they found out their mate’s partner was cheating on them.
Just 17 per cent said they’d keep quiet and not get involved.
But when it comes to gadgets or lost items Brits are more honest, with two thirds claiming they’d hand it into officials if they found it somewhere such as on a bus or train.
One in ten said they’d happily walk off with the item and keep it for themselves.
The Heist is a brand new compelling detective series from Shine TV, the makers of Hunted and The Island.
The show follows ten very unusual suspects – ordinary, upstanding members of the local community – to see if they’ve got what it takes to become successful criminals, evade detection and hold on to a life-changing amount of money.
The Heist airs on Sky One and NOW TV from Friday 9th November at 9pm.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.