Australian Police apologise after leaving plastic explosives in Sydney Airport for three weeks

Device was hidden in a suitcase during a dog training exercise

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The Independent Online

The Australian Federal Police has apologised after a suitcase containing a plastic explosive was accidentally left at Sydney Airport before being sent home with a passenger.

The mistake occurred when a canine instructor left behind a device containing 230g of a plastic explosive which had been hidden in an unclaimed suitcase during a dog training exercise.

The device was left on 14 August, but was not discovered until 9 September when a passenger was offered the suitcase as a replacement for her own damaged luggage.

After discovering the device, the woman immediately took it to the Cessnock Police Station, where officers temporarily evacuated the building as a safety precaution.

“The AFP takes this error seriously and the canine instructor who inadvertently left this device behind has been identified and will be the subject of a formal Professional Standards Investigation,” Commander Buchhorn said in a statement released on Thursday.

“Although the travelling public was not in danger at any time, we regularly review our processes in this area, and we will do again in the light of this incident.

“This type of training is essential for our canine teams, allowing the dogs to experience potential threats in a real environment.

“On behalf of the AFP, I would like to thank the woman, her family and New South Wales Police, especially officers at Cessnock Police Station, for their assistance in this matter.”