Gordon Brown is pictured by the bin with his melt-in-the-mouth reward.

Council returns wallet to delighted owner after seafront loss

A young visitor to Exmouth thought she had seen the last of her savings and treasured possessions on Wednesday when she threw some litter into a seafront rubbish bin – and her purse went in as well!

But the following day East Devon District Council was able to return the purse to a delighted Karis Atkins.

The town’s new ‘Big Belly’ bins have a rotating drawer front and the contents are compressed by a solar-powered ram. So there was no chance of Karis reaching into the bin to retrieve the lost purse.

Karis, a 16-year-old student from Exeter, was enjoying a day out with friends by the sea during her Easter holidays when the purse slipped out of her hand and into the bin.

A friend tweeted East Devon District Council about the loss and Karis also left a note on the bin itself, as well as phoning the council’s overnight out-of-hours emergency service, which alerted staff to the problem.

The next day mobile cleansing operative Gordon Brown dived into the litter to look for the purse. He came up smiling – and the purse and its delighted owner were reunited on Thursday morning.

Sentimental value

Karis said:

The purse contained some cash that I had saved up, as well as a bank card. Inside were some things of sentimental value, like a plane ticket from a school trip and a player card I got while playing Ultimate Frisbee for Team GB in Italy last year.

But perhaps the most important item for Karis, who takes her exams this summer, was a memory stick containing some school work, which was also in the purse.

Karis added:

It was amazing to get the purse back, especially so quickly. It was very kind of Gordon to look for it and to phone me the next morning.

To express her gratitude,  Karis handed Gordon a box of Maltesers to thank him for his efforts. Gordon will share the soft-centred choccies with his colleagues before disposing of the box – thoughtfully of course!