Drainage engineers in the UK recovered over 5,000 pairs of pants, knickers and socks from the nation’s pipes last year, according to figures released this week by home emergency experts HomeServe.
Bizarre objects including garden furniture, fireworks, dog bowls, shuttlecocks and a £10 note have all been discovered in blocked pipes around the UK – and gadgets such as mobile phones and handheld gaming devices regularly find their way down the drain.
The most common causes of blockages, apart from food and waste, were underwear, children’s toys and food packaging, according to a survey of 2,000 of the 65,000 customers whose drainage emergencies were serviced by HomeServe in 2010.
More than one in twenty callouts resulted in the discovery of a dead animal, the u-bend being a perennial favourite for parents looking to avoid uncomfortable questions over the whereabouts of a small family pet. Almost as many man-hours were spent retrieving lost jewellery, including wedding rings that had fallen down a kitchen or bathroom plughole.
HomeServe engineer Steve Bailey said: “You’d be surprised at some of the things I have found whilst servicing blocked pipes and drains over the years. I once discovered a quarter of a chicken stuck in the U-bend of a toilet causing it to over flow. The customer had enjoyed a family barbeque the previous day, but was pretty bemused as to how it got there. You find children’s toys all the time – it’s amazing what fun kids can have with toilets.”