London Lost Property – FAQ
So you’ve gone and lost your expensive mobile phone, laptop, or camera on the London Tube without gadget insurance. Or it could have been an umbrella or scarf on a red London bus.
Either way, you are probably panicking, but not to worry, as Transport for London (TfL), the company behind the London Underground, London Buses, and all other public transport in London, have a pretty comprehensive system to ensure that you get your lost item back. About 184,000 items are left on London public transport systems every year, and they do the best they can to reunite passengers with their lost belongings!
> If you lost something on a London Tube train
Before you give up and go out to buy a new laptop or a new mobile phone, remember that the majority of Londoners are honest and trustworthy. Most likely either a member of staff will find it when the train reaches its final destination at the end of the line, or a passenger will hand it in to station staff at a tube station midway on the line. Your best bet is to go to any tube station control room (it’s normally by the ticket barriers at the entrance/exit) and report your item missing there. All lost items are processed at these control rooms, where the item is documented and logged onto the system before being sent to the Transport for London Lost Property Office/Warehouse a few days later.
You can also report your lost item online using the TfL Lost Property form.
> If you left something behind on a London Bus
If you’re only a few stops away from the end of the bus line, it might be worth it to hail a black cab and try to beat the bus to its last stop at the depot! This way you can retrieve your item from the bus or from the bus driver immediately. Otherwise, lost property on a bus is reported and dealt with the same way as the London Tube, so see the procedure above (just substitute tube station control room for bus depot control room).
> If you left your diamond-encrusted iPhone 3GS mobile in a London black taxi/cab
You must be extremely grateful that you didn’t take a dodgy minicab instead! London black cab drivers are generally very honest, and when they have time later during the day they will hand the lost item to a police station to be reported as lost. However, if the lost item is a phone, they will probably hold on to it for an hour or two to see if you will call back to arrange a time and place to hand it back to you.
Once it has been handed over to the police, it will then make its way to the TfL Lost & Found Property Office.
> If you left your phone in the backseat of a minicab
You will have to contact the minicab company directly, as the drivers will hand in lost items to the central office at the end of their shifts. However, as with black cabs, please try giving your own mobile phone a call!
> If you’ve lost something on any other London public transport…
… such as the tram, DLR, train, river boat, or overground. They all belong under the TfL umbrella, so first get in touch with a station staff, and then directly with the TfL Lost & Found Office through their online form here.
> Where is the Transport for London (TfL) Lost Property Office?
I can only imagine that this mystical place must be bigger than a factory warehouse to be able to hold the many lost items on London public transport every day! There’s probably enough umbrellas there to hand out to every man, woman, and child (and probably dog) in London. Nevertheless, there is almost no point in visiting the office immediately if you have lost something, as the lost item will take time to arrive and they won’t be able to search their warehouse for you immediately. You should fill in the online form – all lost property requests are looked into individually and a response will be given within 21 days – and only go to the office if you have been told that your lost property is there.
The address for the TfL Lost & Found Office is: TfL Lost Property Office, 200 Baker Street, London NW1 5RZ
Their telephone number is: 0845 330 9882 (08:30-16:00, Monday-Friday except Bank Holidays)
> General tips for expensive electronic items
All electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, and mp3 players have unique serial numbers on them that can only enhance your chances of recovering a lost or stolen device. After all, when you pop to the lost and found office at TfL you still need to prove that you are the rightful owner of a certain electronic device, and having the serial number in hand is one such way.
For mobile phones, each one has a unique IMEI number, which can be used to track or even block it from connecting to any mobile network in the country, thus rendering it useless to any thief. You should also register your cellphone with Immobilise, along with any laptops, bikes, and items of value, in order to provide the police with the full details to aid in the recovery. Do keep your IMEI number written down somewhere and also your phone receipt, as you’ll need them if you ever have to claim on gadget loss insurance.
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