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Sherlock finds elementary losses on Tube

PUBLISHED: 15:26 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

PASSENGERS at best are getting more honest on London’s buses and the Underground. At worst, they’re more careless losing things when they’re commuting across town. The number of items finding their way into the Lost Property Office reached 170,000 over the last 12 months, 10,000 more than the previous 12 months, according to transport bosses at City Hall this week

By Mike Brooke

PASSENGERS at best are getting more honest on London's buses and the Underground.

At worst, they're more careless losing things when they're commuting across town.

The number of items finding their way into the Lost Property Office has almost reached 170,000 over the last 12 months.

That's 10,000 more than the previous 12 months, according to transport bosses at City Hall.

Some of the more unusual items included a stuffed puffer fish, human skulls, breast implants and even a lawnmower!

Lost Property manager Julie Haley prefers to think of her commuters as an honest bunch.

"The fact that we get around 700 items handed in every day is real testament to their honesty," she says proudly.

"We do our best to reunite our passengers with their property and would urge those losing anything to get in touch if they think they might have left something behind on the bus or train."

Most commonly forgotten objects found on the buses, Underground, Overground, DLR or taxis last year were 32,000 books, 28,000 bags and nearly 26,000 items of clothing.

There were also thousands of mobile phones, wallets, purses, laptops, umbrellas, keys and gloves.

The success rate of these items bring returned to their owners amounts to one-in-three.

Staff use a computer programme called 'Sherlock', in a 'nod' to one famous fictional detective neighbour of their Baker Street offices, to log details of items handed in and check for a match with enquiries from passengers reporting lost goods.

But they also use their own detective skills if any identification is found on items.

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.


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