THERE are two kinds of people in this world: people who see a lost glove on the ground and glance around for potential owners before popping it on a wall, hanging it from a hedge or placing it at the edge of the walkway to prevent a trampling, and monsters.

It’s odd, really, that the clever folk behind Tinder, OKCupid and the like haven’t recognised this crucial distinction. Romance-seekers can filter their searches by age, gender and location but there’s no tick-box to filter out those who would permit the muddying of a mitten or the contamination of cashmere. If a lost and lonely hand-warmer doesn’t tug at a person’s heartstrings, can you even be sure they are human? These sex robots we keep hearing about are getting awfy realistic.

Peter Sandground is one of the good guys. The photojournalist might not have been able to save the snazzy Nikon camera he found photogenically wedged in a rockpool, but he made it his mission to find out who it belonged to after retrieving the images stored on its memory card. The best part of this cockle-warming story is that amateur snapper Charlie Davidson was reunited with his photos of Glen Etive a full year after he took them, by which point he must surely have been quite certain they were lost for good.

What a welcome dose of new year joy. This story has it all: a camera used to capture beautiful Scottish landscapes, as opposed to Japanese suicide victims; technology harnessed for good, rather than shameless self-promotion or Black Mirror-style evil; and strangers brought together by a wholesome hobby.

It’s testament to the grimness of 2017 that some of those who saw Sandground’s social media appeal cried foul, suggesting he had pinched the pictures off the internet and the whole tale was fake news. It’s a sad state of affairs indeed when someone doing a nice wee thing for a stranger is viewed with such suspicion. Is altruism now regarded as too good to be true?

I can’t pretend there’s no self-interest at the heart of my ongoing mission to return lost property directly to its owners. I manage to lose track of my subway pass at least half a dozen times per week, and if it weren’t for the regular “excuse me" of strangers I’d have permanently exposed hands, a cold head and no protection against surprise downpours. Tech-savvy friends are aghast at my failure to lock my mobile phone, but if it weren’t for kind-hearted amateur detectives calling “Mum” or popping up in a WhatsApp chat with my friends, I’d have gone through two additional handsets in the last three months alone.

With all due respect to professional detectives, I consider myself to have a very particular set of skills – skills I have acquired over a long career in finding-and-not-keeping. I once phoned a chap to arrange collection of his wallet before he’d even realised he’d lost it, despite neither his landline nor mobile number being listed within it.

I’ve returned travel passes, student cards, a name badge, and even a birthday card that was addressed simply to the “world’s best dad”. One festive period I had a delightful chat with a still-tipsy young lady whose cash-stuffed purse I’d discovered wedged into a concrete crevice in Glasgow city centre. “You’re in Glasgow?” she exclaimed, as the cogs of her fuzzy brain started turning. “Well who knows how I managed to get home – I’m in Coatbridge!”

All very well, you might think, but why not just take any items found to the nearest lost property office? It’s an option, certainly, but it’s worth weighing up the chances of the owner knowing where to look, and considering leaving a note with your number instead. Overstretched station, shop or cafe staff probably won’t have time to scour Twitter or Facebook for the owner of an ancient iPod, or a handbag stripped of valuables by thieves but still containing a treasured make-up bag. Follow the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and you might just end up saving yourself and others money, stress and an eternity spent on hold trying to cancel all your cards.

If you find a lost phone and want to reunite it with its owner don’t, whatever you do, hand it in to the police. You’d be as well hurling it into a quarry, placing it in the path of a steamroller, or whacking it with a hammer. In an ideal world there would be a special room in Police Scotland HQ full of plugged-in missing phones, guarded by a cheery officer who’s constantly poised to receive calls from anxious owners.

But alas, real life is not quite like Scot Squad and the police have more important things to do. In any case, the risk of privacy breaches is much too great for the cops to go handing out phones to any old “Me”, “Mum” or Harry in a contacts list – so every phone, laptop and MP3 player handed in by a well-meaning member of the public is mercilessly destroyed.

Cloud storage, GPS tracking and insurance contracts might offer a sense of security to those who unwrapped shiny new gadgets this Christmas, but technology hasn’t made human beings redundant just yet. Take care of yourselves and your precious possessions in 2018 – and let’s keep an eye out for each other, too.