A FATHER is being held in a Turkish prison after reportedly finding treasure while snorkelling.

Toby Robyns, of Southwick, was detained at Bodrum airport on Friday on suspicion of “finding Turkish artefacts without notifying authorities”, according to a national newspaper.

The 52-year-old father-of-five, apparently discovered the 13 coins while snorkelling during a two-week holiday in Turgutreis and tried to take them home as a souvenir, the newspaper said.

He is reportedly being held at Milas prison while he waits to hear whether he will be charged with the crime which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

James Stoneham, a family friend, said: “This was harmless fun on a holiday.

“He found a number of coins among the rocks and sand.

“When he went to get his flight home they dragged him off and searched his hand luggage.”

“They are accusing him of taking Turkish artefacts which he was obviously unaware of.

“It was a huge shock for everybody. This was harmless fun on a holiday you’ve enjoyed — and now he has been put in prison.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are assisting a British man following his arrest in Bodrum and remain in contact with his family and the Turkish authorities.”

Foreign Office Advice warns British tourists: “The possession, sale and export of antiquities is against the law.”

Travel advice website Responsible Travel also urges tourists: “Do not buy supposedly ancient coins or artefacts you may be offered by touts at ancient sites. It is a serious crime, punishable by prison.”

Traveller advice websites even warn that Turkish rugs need special certificates showing they are allowed to be exported under the strict rules on historic and cultural artefacts.

Mr Robyns reported to have found the collection of coins whilst on the family trip with wife Heidi and sons Baxter, nine, and Brodie, seven.

As they prepared to fly home from their fortnight-long summer holiday in Turgutreis it is understood Mr Robyn’s was arrested at Bodrum airport in front of his family.

He was then taken to a police station and appeared before a court.

His wife and children had yesterday been allowed to return to their home in Old Shoreham Road, Southwick.