Transport for London reveals increase in items handed in to its Lost Property Office

28 May 2008
"We do our best to reunite people with their property"

We do our best to reunite people with their property

The Lost Property Office handles items lost on the TfL network; including buses, Underground, London Overground, DLR, Licensed taxis or in Victoria Coach Station.

The figures for 2007/08 reveal that the most commonly forgotten objects last year were books (32,268), bags (27,946) and items of clothing (25,802).

This is followed by a large volume of mobile phones, value items (wallets, purses, laptops etc.) umbrellas, keys and gloves.

A stuffed puffer fish, human skulls, breast implants and a lawnmower are just some of the unusual items the Lost Property Office has received over the years. 

In a nod to one famous fictional neighbour of the Baker Street offices, the Lost Property Office uses a computer programme called 'Sherlock' to log details of any items handed in and check for a match with enquiries received from customers who may have lost an item on the transport network.

Staff at the Lost Property Office will use their own detective skills to try to reunite property with its rightful owner - if any identification is found in the property, they will contact the owner directly.

Some have gone a step further, managing to track down the next of kin for two urns of ashes that had been in the Lost Property Office for years, even though there were just a few words written on the urns.

Julie Haley, manager of TfL's Lost Property Office, said: 'The amount of lost property handed in is increasing year on year.

'We would like to remind people to keep hold of their belongings and take a quick look around before getting off public transport.

'The fact that we get around 700 items handed in every day is a real testament to the honesty of  Londoners on the whole.

'We do our best to reunite people with their property, and would encourage anyone who loses an item of property on our services to get in touch if they think they might have left something on the transport network.'

The success rate of items returned to their owners amount to 1 in 3 bags, 1 in 3 mobiles and 1 in 3 valuables.

The biggest barrier to returning property to its rightful owner is the large number of people who simply do not contact the Lost Property Office to enquire about their lost items.


Notes to editors:

If a name and address, email address or telephone number is found in the property, the potential owner is contacted and told that the LPO may have their item of property
  • Property normally takes a minimum of two working days to arrive at the LPO
  • After two days, people can enquire about lost property in several ways
    • by calling 0845 330 9882 between 08:30 and 16:00, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays)
    • by filling in the online enquiry form at www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/contact/lostproperty
    • by faxing 020 7918 1028
    • in person or by writing to:
       Lost Property Office
       200 Baker Street
       London
       NW1 5RZ
    • Positively identified lost property is returned to the owner (in person or by post) once a restoration fee, postage and (for property lost in taxis) a driver's award has been paid
    • Property not claimed after three months is either donated to charity or sold at auction, with all revenue generated contributing towards the cost of running the LPO service