Holidaying Italians lose 14 million worth of personal effects on beaches in August according to a survey carried out by Eta Meta Research, an Italian trend and research company, which interviewed beach resort management and some 200 lifeguards throughout the country.

Jewellery, watches, coins and sunglasses are the objects most frequently lost but also keys, wallets, toys, clothes and shoes. On the rise is also the loss of high-tech devices such as mobile phones, MP3s, cameras and childrens electronic games, such as the popular Gameboy.

And while some loll lazily on beaches and enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea, others are hard at work. On the increase is the number of beach treasure-hunters, armed with metal detectors, determined to track down this lost treasure and so to make a profit from the absent-mindedness of holiday-makers.