WHAT do you do when you’re rummaging through a car boot sale and you come across an air raid identity bracelet that was worn by a little girl in the Second World War?

You try to return it to her family, of course.

York antiques dealer Stephen Wells came across just such a bracelet when he was rummaging through the weekly car boot at Knavesmire.

Made out of base metal, it had a girl’s name and address: Mollie Hercock, of Pretoria Road, Romford.

Stephen, 36, from South Bank, who runs online antique business www.source-vintage.co.uk, says he had never seen anything quite like it before. “I think they are quite rare,” he said.

He immediately set out to track down Mollie or her family, using the census, voting lists and birth and marriage registers.

He quickly found out Mollie had been born in 1931 - meaning she’d have been just six or seven when war broke out. In 1956 she married Kenneth Lucy, and the couple continued to live in Ronford.

He also discovered that both Mollie and her husband had passed away. But after running an article in the local newspaper, the Romford Recorder, he was contacted by a local Romford woman, Claire Davis, who ran a Facebook page dedicated to helping people contact lost friends and family.

Claire told him that she had managed to trace one of Mollie’s sons, Trevor, who now lived near Nottingham, and had passed Stephen’s email to him.

Stephen didn’t have to wait long to hear from Trevor.

“Minutes later, Trevor emailed me!,” he says. “We had managed to track down one of Mollie’s sons!”

Stephen posted the bracelet to Trevor, who emailed him to say thank you and sent some family photos.

“I didn’t end up with very much that was really personal to mum and this is something very special,” Trevor told him.

So the bracelet is back with Mollie's family. "I'm just so very pleased that it is now back where it belongs," Stephen said.

But how did it end up in York in the first place?

Stephen isn’t entirely sure. There is no suggestion that Mollie was ever evacuated here during the war, he says.

But then these bracelets weren’t necessarily given to evacuees: they were given to city children so that they could be identified if they got separated from their parents or injured during an air raid.

The most likely explanation, he says, is that it was brought up to the Knavesmire car boot by a dealer from down south - it’s a sale that attracts dealers from all over the country, Stephen says.

Trevor, Molly’s son, was mainly surprised that his mum had ever lost the bracelet.

“She was quite the sentimentalist,” he told Stephen. “To be honest, I’m surprised it ever left her possession!”