Street cleaners in hunt for lost handbag

Published: Tuesday 29th May 12

A Southfields woman has been reunited with the contents of her handbag after one of the council’s street cleaning teams trawled through a tonne of rubbish to find it.

Clean up crew Terry Beale and Bill Davies and their supervisor, Daren Holder (left) who arranged the searchThe woman's purse, money, bank cards and driving licence went missing on Thursday after she inadvertently left the bag in the gutter by the side of the road in Skeena Hill.

It was then swept up by a street cleaning crew, who were carrying out one of their regular twice weekly cleans in this part of Southfields, and thrown in the back of one of the caged vehicles used to pick up flytips and other street waste.

Later that day her son went to the council's street cleaning depot to ask if there was any chance the bag could be traced.

Staff quickly traced the cleaning crew that had been working in Skeena Hill earlier in the day, and after they'd been quickly recalled to the depot, they began sifting through a one tonne pile of refuse sacks, plastic bags, mattresses and cardboard boxes until they found the missing bag.

Although the bag itself was too damaged to be used again, its contents, including a purse, bank cards, cash and a driving licence, were absolutely fine.

Wandsworth's environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook paid tribute to the crew for their dedication and "willingness to go the extra mile" to help.

He added: "This was a great act of kindness that went above and beyond the normal call of duty. Picking your way through a lorry load of refuse to find a small item of lost property is a task that would be beyond many of us, and that's what made it a truly commendable piece of work. The fact that they then found what they were looking for really was the icing on the cake."

The two man crew - Terry Beale and Bill Davies and their supervisor, Daren Holder who arranged for the search - are all employed by the council's street cleaning contractor Fountains Group.


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