The weird and wonderful items left unclaimed in TFL's West Ham lost property office

  • Watch Daniel Henry's report

Public Transport users in London leave thousands of items behind each week from handbags to more unusual items like a giant octopus toy.

Once belongings are found on trains or busses on TFL's vehicles they are brought to a giant lost property office in West Ham, where they await a phone call from their owners to be recovered.

But TLF say thousands of items are left unclaimed every week, meaning the office is bursting with draws of phones, shevles of scooters and bikes and racks of clothing.

In fact, 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.

Shelves of unclaimed umbrellas are among the items at the Transport for London Lost Property Office. Credit: PA Images

TfL’s first lost property office opened 90 years ago.

Lost property office performance manager Diana Quaye said the success rate of items being reclaimed is very small.

Many phones are left unclaimed according to staff at the sorting office. Credit: PA Images

She told the PA news agency: “When we moved here, there were about 62,000 items.

“We receive around 6,000 items a week. 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.”

Diana Quaye is the Performance Manager at the Transport for London Lost Property Office. Credit: PA Images

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.

Soft toys are some of the most common items handed into the lost property office. Credit: PA Images

TFL urge anyone who loses an item on London’s public transport network to enter the details on a form on TfL’s website, and they will be contacted if it is recovered.

Items handed in are stored for up to three months, after which time anything unclaimed is donated to charity, recycled, disposed of or sold, except cash, which is held for up to a year.