£300 blows away - and is stolen by passers-by


One Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, United Kingdom, Architect Allies And Morrison, 2003

A man in Manchester lost £300, after the wind blew the notes from his wallet and it was stolen by passers-by. He had put his wallet down on a bench in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens, when the wind picked up and blew the money down the pavement.

Some people collected the notes up for him, but others took the cash and scarpered.

The Manchester Evening News reported that the man picked up any notes he could find, but after counting it he realised that passers-by had taken £300. The Mirror reported that three people were thought to have been the main culprits, and that police officers are checking CCTV footage to identify them.


It's a shocking display of brazen dishonesty, but these Manchester residents are not the only ones willing to drop morality for a fast buck. In September last year Reader's Digest researchers dropped 12 wallets in 16 cites and counted how many were returned. London was the only UK city tested, where five wallets were returned - putting it ninth on the list. The worst performer of all was Lisbon where only one wallet was returned - by a couple on holiday from Holland.

Even when the money is handed into police it's not always safe. In Australia a decorated police officer was recently fund guilty of stealing $50 from a wallet which had been handed in as lost property.


Fortunately there are still some honest people left in the world. We reported in September last year on the man who was repairing trains for the Madrid underground when he came across a cheque for $2 million in a wallet stuffed between two doors. Emilio Guerra handed it in to his manager, who took it to the police.

A fortnight before that Glen James, a homeless man in Boston, gave police a backpack containing $2,400 in cash and $40,000 in traveller's cheques, which he had found at the shopping mall. The backpack was returned to its owner, and the Boston police honoured the man with a special citation. Ethan Whittington of Virginia read about the story and decided to set up a fund for James on crowdfunding site gofundme.com. In two days it raised $110,000 to thank the Good Samaritan.

And in November 2013 a homeless man in Atlanta was searching through rubbish when he found a woman's wallet. He could see that she was staying at a hotel, so visited four in the city in order to track her down and return it. The hotel staff clubbed together and rewarded him with an overnight stay, new clothes and $500. And after his story hit social media his family got in touch, and flew in to spend Thanksgiving with him.