Busy airports tend to be full of very, very busy people. And very, very busy people sometimes lose focus and leave behind the strangest things, finds Steve Madgwick.

The lost property department at Australia’s busiest airport, Sydney Airport, ends up with hundreds of items each year. They make every attempt to locate the owner but if they reach a dead end the items are auctioned for charity, with the proceeds going to various charities.

Here are 10 items that left Sydney Airport’s lost property team more than a little surprised…

1. Wooden prosthetic leg

A single prosthetic leg was left at the airport many years ago, never to be reclaimed by its owner.

2. Wedding dress

A bride-to-be left a garment bag (with her wedding dress inside) outside while she went to the bathroom – when she returned, both the bag and its contents were gone. Someone mistakenly picked up the bag and drove home with it. Upon opening the bag, and seeing the wedding dress inside, they promptly drove back to the airport and returned the dress – in time for the wedding the next day.

3. $20,000 cash

A young Irish woman misplaced her handbag, which just happened to contain $20,000 cash for her dream holiday. Fortunately, a quarantine officer found the bag and handed it in to lost property – with the money still inside.

4. Dirty nappies

A lost property officer received a nasty surprise when a carry-on bag was handed in. The officer opened the bag to check its contents – as per the usual security protocol – and found a pile of dirty nappies and baby bottles inside.

5. A child

Several years ago, a family had returned from holidays, loaded their car with luggage and set off home. Unfortunately, they had forgotten one important thing: their son. The lost child was taken to lost property where an officer called the family, asking if they had left anything at the airport, to which they replied they hadn’t. Fortunately, they lived near the airport, and the child was quickly reunited with his parents.

6. Celebrity oversight

A celebrity (who shall remain unnamed) left her solid gold bracelet, Hermes scarf, Burberry trench coat, $400 leather belt and glasses at the airport. She was very grateful when they were all safely returned to her.

7. Designer forgetfulness

This year, Sydney Airport has found a wardrobe full of luxury items including brand new Dior baby shoes and designer handbags by Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

8. Musical instruments

Karaoke machine and bongo drums.

9. Intensely personal items

Dentures and a bedpan.

10. In the ‘other’ category

A head massaging helmet and a food dehydrator.