airport
Airport police officers near a Lost and Found building display some of the 5,000-plus items from Los Angeles International Airport passengers on September 18, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA.Getty Images

Hundreds of unclaimed items at the Indianapolis Airport in the US are to be auctioned off next week to help offset the airport's operating costs.

An estimated 2,000 items will be part of the auction, including football nets, jewellery items and more commonly left behind items, like mobile phones and MP3 players.

The items will be sold alongside some unusual pieces, like boxes used to create dry ice and a brightly-coloured headdress, according to the Daily Mail.

The auction will also feature surplus aviation equipment.

Key Auctioneers –the company that is handling the auction, says only those items that are not claimed and meet certain criteria are eventually selected for the auction block.

Mark Pike, the company's advertising manager says the airport must first exhaust all possible means of trying to return the lost items and the item must have gone unclaimed for at least 30 days.

Previous auctions have featured items, like professional vintage musical instruments, medical X-ray equipment and a prosthetic leg –although the leg was reclaimed by its owner and taken off the auction at the last minute.

The last auction that was held two years ago raised an estimated £150,000.

According to Carlo Bertolini, spokesman for the Indianapolis Airport Authority, most of the items at the airport's lost and found are returned to the owners.

Polices differ at other airports with lost and found items unclaimed at the London Luton Airport being donated to Sue Ryder –the charity partner. The items have to first remain unclaimed for a period of at least three months.

Yet other airports, like the London Heathrow, have hired external third part companies to manage the lost luggage.

Heathrow uses the services of Bagport that lists the lost items on an online registry and upon collection, an administration fee of up to £20 is levied on the collecting party.

The larger the item left behind, the higher the storage fee with bicycles, surf boards, TVs and suitcases ranking the highest in terms of storage fees.