£300m lost in nights on town

Last updated at 12:10 07 March 2005

Nights on the town are costing Britons £300million a year in lost and stolen belongings, a survey claims.

More than 2.5 million people lost a handbag or wallet last year during an evening out.

The survey says although many nights out start with a happy hour, they end in misery with more than half of people losing items worth up to £100.

Half a million revellers have lost more than £300-worth of belongings, according to research by Halifax General Insurance

The company says the problem is likely to rise when 24-hour drinking licences come into effect later this year.

David Norton, of Halifax General Insurance, said: "Nights out with friends and family should be enjoyable occasions but each year 2.5 million people end their evenings making frantic calls to the police and insurance companies.

"While the majority of items lost are small in size this does not mean they are low in value."

Mr Norton said people were now far more likely to carry expensive goods such as iPods, palm pilots and mobile phones round with them.

He said last year the company received more than 20,000 claims for an average of £400 for goods lost on a night out.

The items most likely to go missing are handbags, wallets, make-up, jewellery, keys and money.

Tips for partygoers include not carrying more cards and cash than necessary and keeping valuables out of sight.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said it was important people were alert and in control of what they were doing on a night out.

She said: "It's just common sense really, don't walk along using your mobile phone or carrying your purse in your hand and be careful when using cash machines."

A spokeswoman for Halifax General Insurance said the more unusual items people had tried to claim for following a big night out were sex toys, a "winning" lottery ticket, toupees and designer shoes Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks.

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