We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Unusual finds

What lurks beneath, and the unusual things that are found in the waterways.

Volunteers Regents Canal

During our winter works, and in preparation for our Open Days, we sometimes find some unsual items in our canals. Along with the usual array of rubbish and items such as shopping trolleys, footballs and various types of technology, here a list of some of the range of the rather peculiar and bizarre items found in our waterways: 

  • a WW2 hand grenade with the pin still in. We needed to act quickly and safely and a bomb disposal team was deployed to remove this
  • Boris Bikes were recovered at various locations across London in our waterways. Once recovered they were charged back to Serco at £200 each 
  • various weapons including machetes knifes and meatcleavers - these were usually found by bridges and were handed in to the police 
  • adult blow up doll we found this in the Rochdale Canal in Manchester
  • six sunken cars found at various locations in London.  
  • 14 safes recovered in one place - these were handed into the police, all had been opened 
  • two pizza bikes complete with soggy pizza and garlic bread
  • polysterene foam measuring 24 foot by 8 foot wide and 4 foot deep, found in Manchester  
  • tyres although not unusual, we found over 200 of these in our London waterways last year and they cost us £4 per tyre to dispose 
  • two golf buggies found in the Grand Union Canal near Kings Langley 
  • pogo stick this was found in the Huddersfield Narrow Canal  

Clearing rubbish from the UK’s waterways costs us over £1 million a year, funds that could be better spent on improving wildlife habitats and ensuring the waterways are navigable for boaters.

Last date edited: 10 July 2017