Backpackers, tourists and visiting professionals are being offered the chance to lighten-up, thanks to three Oxford University graduates.

The trio’s CityStasher service is an Airbnb-style solution for left luggage, which connects people who need somewhere to leave their bags with shops and businesses willing to safely store them.

The firm has more than 100 so-called StashPoints in 23 cities around the country, which are a mix of late-night opening convenience stores, newsagents and hotels.

There are three StashPoints in Oxford - at Caspian News in George Street plus Wendy’s News and the Visitor Information Centre which are both in Broad Street.

The charges are £4 per bag for anything up to three hours and £6 for up to 24 hours.

Bookings and payments can be made using smart phones or tablets and prices include insurance for up to £750.

Businesses who sign up as a StashPoint receive 50 per cent of fees taken and the idea is that it could bring more people into their shop or hotel.

Twenty-three-year-old co-founder Matt Majewski said: “Coming back from doing an internship over the summer, I had tons of stuff with me, including all my university gear from the year before.

“I was heading to London to catch a train to a friend’s birthday party in Edinburgh, so needed somewhere safe in Oxford to leave everything as I certainly didn’t want to drag it across the country with me.”

He added: “There didn’t seem to be anywhere suitable, which made me think there could be a business opportunity and later the three of us developed the concept together.”

He and co-founders Anthony Collias, 23, and Jacob Wedderburn-Day, 24, came up with the concept of CityStasher while all three were still studying at Keble College.

Since they launched their mobile website last September, more than 25,000 bags have been stored at StashPoints around the country.

“Some hotels will take your bags but others will refuse,” Mr Majewski pointed out.

“Airbnb users can’t use a hotel and the people they are staying with don’t usually want the responsibility of looking after other people’s possessions.”

The trio started off by arranging for people to store their luggage in other people’s apartments but they realised shops and hotels worked better, because they have longer opening hours.

There is no left luggage facility at Oxford rail station and there are now few around the country which still have them, mainly due to security concerns.

The exceptions are major London terminals such as Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, St Pancras, Victoria, Euston, Waterloo and Paddington.

“Compared to other options on offer, we tend to be 50 per cent cheaper and we also pride ourselves in having StashPoints in central locations,” Mr Majewski said.

“It’s very easy for the shop, as the customer pays us online and they receive a confirmation email.

“Shops often have huge amounts of space where they can store bags and hotels have 24-hour opening, so both are well suited to this.”

Customers range from daytrippers, tourists and students to business professionals and academics

Each of the founders chipped in £200 as start-up funding.

The idea impressed £109m-revenue Big Yellow Self Storage boss James Gibson so much that he has invested £100,000 in the venture.

Although not involved in the day-to-day running, he is a non-executive director of CityStasher.

Mr Majewski said: “We can contact him any time and when we need advice, he’s always there for us.”

The trio plan to have 300 StashPoints in the UK by the end of next year and hope to raise an extra £750,000 of funding.

They have already set up StashPoints in Amsterdam and are keen to open more throughout Europe.

Their longer-term aim is for people to be able to drop luggage in one location and pick it up at another.

Mr Majewski added: “Most of our customers are online and we get referrals from Airbnb and other internet forums.”

So far, nothing has gone too badly awry, he reported.

The worst that happened was that someone was too ill to collect their luggage, so CityStasher delivered it to their home.

They have had a few offbeat requests.

“One girl wanted to do a treasure hunt for her boyfriend, so hid a trail of clues at StashPoints around London,” he said.

“And we have also stored some fairly quirky objects during the past year, from medicines for a diabetic through to musical instruments.

He added: “Even we have been surprised by the demand for this service and it does seem to be going down well with a wide variety of people.

“Everyone wants peace of mind when it comes to their luggage.”