The tighter security at Heathrow apart in the last few weeks means that there’s an ever-growing pile of unclaimed notebook computers, most of which must be auctioned off.

An average of 120 laptops are handed in to lost property at Heathrow every month, out of which about 15 end up at auction after 3 months. However, in the recent weeks, the number of laptops being handed in has tripled.

A recent survey also indicates that between 40 and 50% of lost mobiles, notebooks, and PDAs are unclaimed. Many have no security precautions installed, and it’s easy to get information, some of it confidential, from them.

Pointsec’s research found that people leaving British airports are far less likely to claim lost good than say, those who depart Sweden, where 100% of notebooks were reclaimed. However, in Norway, only 10% of lost mobiles were reclaimed last year, compared with 95% of notebooks.

None of the mobile phones handed in at the airport in Brisbane, Australia, were ever claimed. Pointsec says that people can’t be bothered to claim mobiles, since prices for handsets are dropping, and they’re likely to get an upgrade from their old phone.