Lost passports 'suffer odd fates'
Published 22/04/2011 | 02:17
British passports have been stolen by gunmen in Brazil, fallen out of bags on snow-covered mountains and donated to the homeless, officials have said.
The more unusual reasons given by people who have lost their passports come as figures showed that more than 10,000 a year are thrown out with the rubbish and another 10,000 are lost during nights out in bars or clubs.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said almost 300,000 UK passports need to be replaced each year, with 162,500 going to men and 112,000 to women - each costing at least £77.50.
Among the reasons given, one Briton said their passport was taken when their taxi was attacked by a gunman while on its way to the airport in Brazil.
Others have fallen out of bags while snowboarding, been left in the pocket of a coat donated to the homeless, or gone up in flames after being left in old clothes which have been set on fire.
One passport was destroyed by a drunk boyfriend, "now ex", the officials said, while another was put in the bin by an infant daughter.
Sarah Rapson, IPS chief executive, said: "Your passport is not only increasingly attractive to fraudsters, but it will cost you at least £77.50 to replace, so it's really important that you keep it safe both when you are at home and when you're abroad.
"Remember to put your passport away after use. Don't leave it in a trouser or shirt pocket in the laundry pile."