THE lost property office at Palma airport reported yesterday that during 2007, it took charge of no less than 4'850 mislaid items of which 615 were returned to their owners the same year and 317 during the first seven months of this year.

The Spanish Airports Authority (AENA) confirmed that figures for this year - as at July - totalled 2'655 items. Looking at the types of belongings that people most lose, an AENA spokesman said that the airport authorities mostly recover suitcases, hand luggage, mobile telephones, keys, spectacles and clothing. There are on occasions some “really strange” finds such as false teeth, irons, quantities of sand, flowerpots, bicycles, wheelchairs, baby walkers, television sets, computers and body building weights. The system adopted by the lost property office entails airport personnel giving a copy of the lost item registration to the person who hands it over to the authorities. The length of time the object is kept by “lost property” depends on the nature of the find. In a journal, the date of the find is recorded, the nature of the object handed in and who delivered it. If the owner wishes to reclaim an object from the lost property bureau, he or she first has to make a verbal or drawn description of the item that has been misplaced before staff show the objects they have in their possession. After a stipulated period of time has passed, airport authorities hand over valuable lost items and documentation to the police. Perishable goods, including food, are not kept by the authorities for health reasons.

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