A British father was arrested in front of his family at a Turkish airport after trying to bring home 13 historic bronze coins he found while snorkelling on holiday.
Toby Robyns, 52, was arrested at Bodrun airport on Turkey’s Aegean coast and could face up to five years in prison if convicted of trying to take artifacts out of the country. Mr Robyns, an ambulance driver from Southwick, West Sussex, told police he had no idea it was against the law to take the coins.
"We were on a daily tour. When our boat stopped I took my goggles and dove into the water. There were broken ceramics in the sea. When I cleaned the sand off with my hand I saw the coins. I never thought that carrying them would be a crime,” he said, according to a Turkish police statement.
Police said the coins were 800 years old and were found when Mr Robyns put his luggage through an X-ray machine at the airport.
Mr Robyns’ wife, Heidi, and two young sons returned to the UK while he was reportedly taken to a prison in Milas, around 30 miles away. Mrs Robyns declined to comment when reached at the family home near Brighton.
The family had been on a two-week summer holiday in Bodrun Mr Robyns has not been charged with a crime but is likely to be held in prison until prosecutors make a decision.
Turkey’s judicial system is on an August break, meaning that Mr Robyns could face several weeks in prison before any decision is made. He appeared before a magistrate’s court the day after his arrest but will need to appear before a higher court if he is charged.
He could face between three and five years in prison if convicted of smuggling historical artifacts, according to the BirGun newspaper.