Rail company Greater Anglia said it was ‘reviewing’ its lost property policy after it was criticised for taking cash from a woman’s purse after she left it on a train.
Florence Lewis, 18, had left her purse on a train after travelling from Ipswich to Lowestoft earlier this month.
When she went to collect a week later, she found that £1.50 had been taken from her purse by staff as a ‘storage fee’.
She had £15 in cash her purse.
Greater Anglia said the charge was usually a minimum of £2 or 10% of the amount of money in the purse.
Miss Lewis asked why the money had been taken from her purse without her knowledge and said she was left ‘confused’ by the incident.
‘I was aware there was a storage charge for lost property, but I didn’t know it was a percentage of cash in a purse,’ she told the BBC.
‘It’s not published anywhere on their website that this is how they do it.’
The incident has caused a furore and even featured as a phone-in item on a national radio show.
Greater Anglia Railway are now stealing money from people's purses in lost property. @greateranglia you should be ASHAMED of yourselves. If a civilian did this they'd be arrested for theft and you should be too.
— Sarah Diggins (@BiscruGirl) October 11, 2018
Greater Anglia’s website states that passengers will be charged if it has to store an item which is not collected within 24 hours – however it made no mention of the cash being deducted from peoples’ purses or wallets.
It also added that staff removed the £15 from the purse to ‘ensure’ it was protected.
‘We are currently reviewing our lost property policy to ensure that it is consistently applied by staff and offers clear information to customers about the charges we make for safe storage,’ said a spokesman for Greater Anglia.
‘We are sorry that this customer was unhappy with the service on this occasion.
‘Our customer relations team is in contact with her and are taking steps to redress the situation.’
Just last month, Arriva Trains Wales said it would no longer take 10% of cash from any customers belonging which have ended up in lost property, after an online backlash.