Lost and Found

Treasure trove of items left on public transport

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Marjane Simon with some of the thousands of items handed in


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Working in a place with all sorts of quirky items that have been lost on the transport network, some from faraway lands, may sound like a daunting job, but 37 year old Marjane Simon from Ealing says when she manages to re-unite a lost item with its owner, the joy is unexplainable.

In her ninth year of service at Transport for London’s Lost Property Office, Marjane has worked in the sorting room dealing with incoming lost belongings, matching items with their rightful owners and on the front desk dealing face to face with customers that claim their property in person.

“I find my work very interesting in the sense that it helps me meet lots of people from different backgrounds and I learn how people value different things.”

The Lost Property Office handles items lost on the TfL network, including London Buses, London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, licensed taxis or in Victoria Coach Station and holds property for a period of three months from the date of loss.

Between 600 and 1,000 items are handed in each day to the Lost Property Office.In 2008/9, a total of 4,372 lost items were handed in at various bus and underground stations in Ealing.

For Marjane, it takes a lot of patience, some ‘investigative skill’ and interest in the job to gain fulfillment. Marjane says “Lots of people tend to lose items very easily which can be quite upsetting for them. There are a lot of very honest people and my message to everyone is that no matter what you have lost, don’t give up hope of finding it because there is a chance that it could be at the Lost Property Office

“I once reunited a newly married woman with her bag that had all her wedding jewellery in it. She had returned home to India where we finally tracked her down.

Asked on the strangest thing she had ever seen brought in at the Lost Property Office in her nine years; it was no doubt the urn of ashes which finally got reunited with family members of the deceased in 2007.

“Doing this job has taught me how to look after my own things, making sure even keys have something distinct attached to them for identification. My advice is; keep an eye on your property, but most importantly, have contact details on your belongings. For mobile phones, make a note of the IMEI number or sim card number.”

TfL’s Lost Property Office manager, Julie Haley said: “We do our best to reunite people with their property, and would encourage anyone to get in touch if they think they might have left something on the transport network. The biggest barrier to returning property to its rightful owner is the large number of people who simply do not enquire about their lost items. The success rate of items returned to their owners is around one in three bags, one in three mobiles and one in three valuables.”

Additional Info

  1. If a name and address, email address or telephone number is found in the property, the potential owner is contacted and told that the Lost Property Office may have their item of property
  2. Property normally takes a minimum of two working days to arrive at the Lost Property Office
  3. 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; by faxing 020 7918 1028; by writing or in person to: Lost Property Office, 200 Baker Street, London NW1 5RZ
  4. 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
  5. Property not claimed after three months is either donated to charity (The Salvation Army or the British Red Cross) or sold at auction, with all revenue generated contributing towards the cost of running the Lost Property Office


August 10, 2009

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