OK, so it was Military Police rather than trainee Members of Parliament that made this colossal error, but it makes the headline no less shocking!

People who work at car rental desks must be used to finding all sorts of strange and wonderful items which have been left behind. However, staff at Hertz's Sydney Airport branch would have been more than surprised to find mock improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the car's glove box!

Although the devices were safe and posed no threat to the general public, they looked real enough to the Hertz cleaning staff who found the devices.

The police were called and the bomb disposal experts from the Australian Federal Police spent several hours examining the fake IEDs before confirming that the devices posed no threat.

Meanwhile, Hertz checked their records and found the car was one of several vehicles hired by a local Defence Police Training Centre. After making contact with the training centre, a no doubt red-faced officer from the training centre arrived at the airport and confirmed the devices were used in exercises for students aspiring to become specially trained Close Personal Protection Operatives...oops!

Worryingly, this doesn't appear to have been an isolated incident. Last year, an auditor's report found that the Defence Police Training Centre had failed to recover three-quarters of the bombs, cartridges and other lethal explosives stolen or lost in recent years despite pressure to account for the explosives; so be sure to check all storage compartments before accepting your hire vehicle.

Remember, it's just as important to check the state of your rental vehicle as it is for stray belongings! As soon as you accept receipt of a vehicle you are accepting responsibility for any new (and sometimes existing!) damage caused whilst in your care. Be sure you and the rental company take note of any irregularities you find in or on the vehicle, including explosive devices!

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