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'She dropped it': Good Samaritan who returned Susan Hall's 'stolen' wallet reveals he found it between Tube seats
1 December 2023, 10:37 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 11:01
A good Samaritan who returned Susan Hall's wallet said he thought she dropped it, rather than it being stolen, as the Conservative London mayoral candidate had claimed.
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Ms Hall lost her wallet on the Metropolitan Line of the Tube on Monday, and said she thought it had been taken from her pocket.
It was later returned to her with the cash still inside, but Ms Hall told LBC's Nick Ferrari she still thought it had been pickpocketed, and took aim at her opponent Sadiq Khan over the incident.
Ms Hall's insistence sparked incredulity from some onlookers, who said it seemed probable that she had mislaid it on the train.
The 69-year-old retired businessman who returned the wallet to Ms Hall also said he thought it unlikely that it had been stolen.
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Ajiz Andani told the Standard that he saw the wallet between two seats when another man got up to leave the train.
"That person was ready to get out at Kingsbury," he said. "My wife saw that there was some wallet stuck between two seats. We asked him. He looked behind and said: ‘It’s not mine.’ We picked it up and found a Freedom Pass and some money inside.
"Luckily there was a business card with a phone number. We got out at Queensbury. I called Susan but she didn’t pick up, so I left a message. She didn’t call for a couple of hours so I called again. She picked up the phone. I told her that we had found this wallet.
"I said: 'I’m in Queensbury.' She said: 'I will come over.' When we handed it over to her she was so pleased. She was so happy. She said so many times, thank you very, very much. I feel she was very, very pleased. She was very humble as well.”
James O'Brien reacts to Susan Hall's 'pickpocketing' story
Mr Andani said that the other man did not seem like someone who might steal a wallet.
"He was a sober guy,” Mr Andani said. “My thinking might be she dropped it and it was stuck in the middle of the seats.
He added: “Whatever you think, you think. My view was that it was not a pickpocketing. It might be that she lost it. The person who was sitting there was not looking like a pickpocket.”
Regarding his decision to track down Ms Hall and give the wallet back, he said: "There was some money inside it as well. I thought: ‘It’s not my property. I don’t want to take it.’
“If you are honest you go further. If you are not honest, you won’t get anything.”
British Transport Police data suggests that thefts on the Tube have skyrocketed in recent years. Some 7,899 instances were reported in 2022 - over double the 3,380 recorded the year before.
Ms Hall, a London Assembly member, is seeking to oust Mr Khan from City Hall in the mayoral elections next May.
She has long been an outspoken critic of her Labour opponent, and has often highlighted the damaging effects of crime and violence in London.
Ms Hall has promised an extra £200 million for policing if she is elected, telling the Conservative conference: "We have got to get more bobbies on the beat."
She has promised to set up "specialist units within the police to tackle burglaries, robberies, and thefts, dismantling the criminal gangs that are behind these".
A recent poll shows Ms Hall trailing Mr Khan in the race for City Hall. The survey by Lord Ashcroft, published last week, shows Mr Khan on 50 points, well ahead of Ms Hall on 23. But internal Conservative party polling suggests that the race may be closer.