Australian police leave explosives in suitcase

Passengers sit with their luggage while waiting to board a flight in the domestic terminal at Sydney Airport on Wednesday, 27 August, 2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The suitcase was given to a woman at Sydney Airport after her luggage was damaged on a flight

Australian police have apologised after leaving a device containing explosives in a bag at Sydney Airport for a month.

The device, which was hidden in a suitcase as part of a dog training exercise, contained 230g of plastic explosives, a police statement read.

The suitcase was given to a woman travelling through the airport on Tuesday afternoon after her bag was damaged during a flight, it said.

After discovering the training device, she took it to a police station.

Police officers evacuated the building as a safety precaution and traced the explosives back to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Federal police said that the device - hidden in an unclaimed suitcase during a training exercise on 14 August - was not live.

"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," Federal Police Sydney Airport Commander Wayne Buchhorn said.

"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."

He also thanked the woman, her family and New South Wales police "for their assistance".

Sydney Airport is the only major airport serving Sydney and is the busiest in Australia. It welcomes up to 37 million passengers a year.

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