An appeal has been launched to find the owner of an OBE found in a rubbish bin
Shocked binmen discovered the gong, which is awarded by the Queen, as they were sorting through a day’s collection.
It is unclear whether the prestigious medal had been discarded by mistake or dumped on purpose.
The medal was still inside its gold-embossed black leather presentation box when it was found at the EnviroWaste depot in Leyton in east London.
The award also contained official paperwork including a “when to wear” guide.
But there was no information to identify the owner and all attempts to trace the recipient have failed.
The private environmental waste clearance company collects from homes and offices across London.
Owner James Rubin said the firm uses a multi-pick up system, meaning collectors visit several sites across the capital during waste hauls, so pinpointing the exact location it was found is almost impossible.
Shocked binmen discovered the gong as they were sorting through a day’s collection
Mr Rubin said: “It was probably left by mistake in a pile for house clearance, possibly from someone who recently died.
It’s not something you often find in waste hauls
“You can imagine our astonishment when we found the OBE medal. It’s not something you often find in waste hauls seeing as it’s one of the highest accolades someone can receive.
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“We come across some weird and wonderful things on hauls.
Andy Murray is one famous recipient of the OBE
“We’ve had a whole human skeleton, stuffed animals, sex toys from the 1930s and lockers full of brand new iPads but this really is something that needs to find its way home.
“We’ve done everything we can to help reunite the medal with its owner but haven’t been successful, so now we need the public to help us.
“If you have any information or know of anybody who’s lost an OBE in the London area please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.
Comedy legend Ken Dodd received a knighthood in the New Years honour's list
An OBE is given to an individual by the Queen for outstanding contribution to their field and stands for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The discovery came shortly before the latest honours were announced in the New Year in which tennis ace Andy Murray, running star Mo Farah and comedy legend Ken Dodd received knighthoods.
Victoria Beckham, Wales manager Chris Coleman and Olympic gold medal winning boxer Nicola Adams received OBE’s.