A Mowbray pensioner, whose hobby is scouring the city's beaches with a metal detector, has made a highly unusual find in the wet sands, a collection of 15 Matchbox-type toy cars.

Alan Miller, who found the toys last week, said he had been surprised to uncover such a large and possibly valuable collection in one spot.

"They appeared to be new and have led me to believe that there's a disappointed and possibly aggrieved child somewhere in Cape Town.

"I've now washed and dried the cars and they're like new again, waiting for their owner."

Miller is hanging on to his find for as long as possible in case they belong to someone who is currently out of town, or to someone who was in the city on holiday and who has now returned home.

"There is a charity that collects these items, but I will keep them for a while in case somebody claims them," he said.

Miller has been involved in metal detecting for 15 years.

He says it's an expensive hobby as the high-tech equipment that he uses costs anything from R3 000 to R12 000.

It's not often that he finds anything valuable and as a result it's not a very lucrative hobby, he concedes.

"I just do it because it's something I enjoy doing.

"People who tried to do it for a living would starve as you don't always find something.

"The metal detectors mostly detect junk on the beaches, such as bottlecaps that people leave behind."

However, Miller offers a service to help people find lost items and is often asked to find lost jewellery.

  • The owner of the toys can contact Miller at 021 685 4723.