We all know how excruciating it is to leave belongings on public transport, but how about if those belongings are top state secrets?

This is what has befallen a worker at the Ministry of Defence, after classified documents containing details about the British military were found at a bus stop in Kent.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed that an employee had reported losing sensitive papers which were later recovered by a member of the public, Sky News reports.

The 50 pages of files were found in a soggy heap behind the bus stop on Tuesday morning, according to the BBC which has seen their contents.

One set of documents centres on the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender, and the likely Russian reaction to the ship’s passage past the coast of Crimea on Wednesday.

Another sets out plans for a possible British military presence in Afghanistan following the end of the US-led Nato operation there, according to the BBC.

Twitter users have responded to the news by likening the mishap to something out of a sitcom, others have expressed sympathy with whoever the culprit was, and others have blamed the whole affair on Government incompetence.

Here’s a look at some of their reactions:

The BBC said it understands that the papers, which include emails and PowerPoint presentations, came from the office of a senior official at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The 50-page package includes updates on campaigns for arms exports, including analysis of where Britain might find itself competing with European allies, the news site states.

It also features briefing notes for last Monday’s session of the UK-US Defence Dialogue, including comments on President Joe Biden’s first months in office.

Most of the papers are marked "official sensitive" – a relatively low level of classification used "where there is a clear and justifiable requirement to reinforce the ‘need to know’".

But one document, marked "Secret UK Eyes Only", outlines highly sensitive recommendations for the UK’s military footprint in Afghanistan.

The file centres on a US request for British assistance in several specific areas, and addresses the question of whether any British special forces will remain in the country once American forces are withdrawn.

The BBC said that due to the sensitivity of the document it had decided “not to report details which could endanger the security of British and other personnel in Afghanistan”.

One thing is clear, these paper should not have been lying on a street corner on a wet and windy Tuesday morning, and someone at the MoD is going to have a lot of questions to answer…

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