The story behind Cornwall’s Lego treasure


Millions of pieces of Lego are continually being swept up on Cornwall's beaches, 17 years after containers were lost overboard a cargo ship.

This might not be news to some, in fact you might have discovered some of the Lego yourselves on your last minute UK breaks!

The Tokio Express was travelling from Rotterdam to New York in 1997 when a huge wave smashed in to the ship 20 miles off Land's End, causing the loss of 62 containers.

One contained around 5 million pieces of sea-themed Lego – crazy huh?

So octopuses, flippers, cutlasses and scubas have been washed up on our shores ever since.

Lego Treasure | Cornwall Beaches

Image Credit: Tracey Williams, Lego Lost at Sea

Tracey Williams, from Newquay, started the Lego Lost at Sea Facebook page, where users can post photos and discuss their findings. She said: "The Facebook group allows others to document where they've found Lego pieces. I had someone contact me in Australia who had found a flipper.”

Tracey added: "I've collected between 500 and 600 pieces over the years. Collectively we've found thousands and thousands between us - but there's still so many more to find.”

"There's stories of kids in the late 1990s having buckets of dragons on the beach, selling them.”

"These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon. I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough.”

"It's quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbour had found a green dragon, you'd want to go out and find one yourself."

The Tokio Express' Lost Lego List
Diver flippers (in pairs – black, blue, red) – 418,000
Daisy flowers (in fours – white, red, yellow) – 353,264
Scuba and breathing apparatus (grey) – 97,500
Dragons (black and green) – 33,941
Yellow life preserver – 26,600
Brown ship rigging net – 26,400
Spear guns (red, yellow) – 13,000
Black octopus – 4,200

So next time you're exploring Cornwall's rock pools on your last minute caravan holidays, keep your eyes peeled for some swept up Lego treasure.

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