- Transport for London is urging passengers to contact them if they lose items
- Approximately 6,000 objects a week are handed and very few are returned
Public transport users in London are failing to claim thousands of lost property items handed in every week.
Transport for London (TfL) is urging passengers who accidentally leave belongings on trains and buses to check if they have been retrieved.
The transport authority moved its lost property office from South Kensington to West Ham last month to accommodate the rising number of objects being stored and to improve processing times.
TfL’s first lost property office opened 90 years ago.
Items handed into TfL’s lost property office include this giant Octopus
Some 6,000 items are handed over each week to the Lost Property office which is now in West Ham, east London, having moved from its traditional home in South Kensington
Lost property office performance manager Diana Quaye said the success rate of items being reclaimed is ‘very small’.
She said: ‘When we moved here, there were about 62,000 items.
‘We receive around 6,000 items a week.
‘It’s a very small success rate of people claiming the items.
‘Unfortunately, a lot of people feel if they lose an item, nobody will hand it in.
‘There’s a large amount of items that we have within the lost property office, so we do advise that if you lose any type of item please go online and see if you can reclaim it.’
The most common items handed in are mobile phones and umbrellas, but large stuffed animals are often left behind on trains and buses
This distinctive hat was among the items left behind on the tube over the past three months
Ms Quaye said some of the most common types of items handed in are mobile phones, headphones, bags and umbrellas.
Recent examples of more unusual objects include a giant octopus soft toy and a homemade costume inspired by sci-fi television series Doctor Who.
In relation to the latter, Ms Quaye said: ‘We had a Dalek costume the other day.
‘Everybody was saying “how would you lose that?”.’
Anyone who loses an item on London’s public transport network is encouraged to enter the details on a form on TfL’s website.
They will be contacted if it is recovered.
Items handed in are stored for up to three months.
After that period, anything unclaimed is donated to charity, recycled, disposed of or sold.
Cash is held for up to a year.
This rack of umbrellas shows how many are left behind on a daily basis on TfL services
Staff enter all items onto a database. Members of the public can make claims online if they have lost something on a TfL service