A BRITISH dad has been detained in prison after pocketing 13 ancient coins he found snorkelling on holiday near Bodrum.

Ambulance driver Toby Robyns, 52, Southwick, West Sussex, was arrested in front of his horrified family at Bodrum Airport as they prepared to fly home. Airport staff said the coins were historical artefacts.

The father of five has been held on suspicion of “finding Turkish artefacts without notifying authorities”.

His alleged offence carries a three-year jail sentence.

Family pal James Stoneham, said: “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. He’s going to have to be held for possibly a month.”

Toby found 13 old coins and decided to take them home as a souvenir of his fortnight-long break in Turgutreis. But security staff at Bodrum airport who found them in his hand luggage deemed them historical treasures.

James, 47, added: “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.”

Toby, of Southwick, near Brighton, West Sussex, was arrested in front of his family.

“He was taken to a police station and hauled before a court the following day.

His distraught wife Heidi, 43, a doctor’s receptionist, and their two sons Baxter, nine, and Brodie, seven, have since flown home. Toby has been remanded in custody until a decision is made whether to charge him.

It could take four to six weeks as parts of Turkey have a judicial holiday this month. It is understood he is being held at Milas Prison.

There are said to be up to 25 shipwrecks from the 4th to 16th centuries around Yassi Ada island — just four miles from where Toby’s found the coins.

Locals believe a 5.3 magnitude earthquake which struck Bodrum two weeks ago may have shifted the coins closer to the shore.

A family member, who asked not to be named, added: “Toby is always snorkelling. It’s his hobby. He’s definitely not a smuggler and that’s what I think they are trying to say. They are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

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.”

(The Sun)