IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in this world, David Ellis says a recent meeting of hoteliers in England decided they'd need a book the size of a metropolitan telephone directory to list the bizarre range of items guests had left in their hotel's rooms.
For in just 12 months they included an urn with the ashes of one man's mother-in-law, a blow-up, anatomically well-endowed sheep, a live 2-metre snake in a parrot cage, and such bodily accessories as staring glass eyes, false arms and legs, hearing aids, and countless sets of false teeth soaking in everything from glasses of wine to, in one case, the hotel's toilet disinfectant.
A live rabbit with a leather collar and walking-lead around its neck was found cowering in one room, a pet tarantula spider in a round glass fish tank in another, and in one hotel's garage an overlooked thoroughbred race-horse was found tied up after a local race meeting that had been held three days before.
And after a week one sheepish guest returned to a country town's budget hotel that was popular with prostitutes, to claim his forgotten car keys – for a $325,000 Porsche.
Staff also found a 2-metre working model of a helicopter left in one pub room, a police car siren connected to a 12V battery in another… and a life-size dummy of comedian, actor and TV presenter, Sir Lenny Henry in yet another.
Hoteliers said they couldn't even begin to estimate the number of sex toys left after one-night stands, and all agreed that the most-often left items were phone chargers… last year in just one major chain alone 42,000 were left plugged into power points by forgetful guests.
Jane Bednall, from Holiday Inn, said: "It's quite unbelievable just how much is left behind by our guests each year. The phone chargers would easily stretch across the English Channel.
"Most items are not re-claimed and after six months we donate anything of value to local charities."
 PHONE chargers are the most-often left items in English hotel rooms, an amazing 42,000 of them last year in just one major hotel chain alone.