Gold Rush in Kent
Gold hunters have descended upon a beach in Kent in the hope of uncovering buried gold.

An artist has sparked a gold rush after burying thirty bars of gold on a beach in Kent.

Michael Sailstorfer revealed he has hidden £10,000 worth of gold under the sand of Outer Harbour beach in Folkestone, as part of an arts festival.

The project by Berlin-based Mr Sailstorfer is called Folkestone Digs and is part of the town's triennial.

Members of the public taking part in the giant treasure hunt, are being encouraged to search the beach after low tide and can keep any gold that they find.

The bars are around the size of a dog tag, and are valued at up to £500 each. Some people are using metal detectors to help them search for gold, while others have been sifting through sand so as not to miss any of the coveted gold bars. Organisers have said they fully expect that some of the gold might never be found.

Rachel Kinchin, communications director at arts producers Situations UK, which is curating the project, said around 500 people had turned up so far. She described the response as "amazing".

"There's so many stories of what people would do with it (a piece of gold). One guy who's redundant said he would start up his own business. Others want to keep it as a piece of art."

Kinchin said they had received reports of four treasure hunters striking gold.

Situations UK said the project "is a continuation of his aim to make art that comes less from the head and more from the stomach".

A common theme of Sailstorfer's work is said to be the "disruption of the everyday" and fittingly the stunt has prompted gold hunters to drop their normal working routines to take part in the dig.

Vicky Webb, who travelled to the beach to take part in the gold rush, told Kent Online: "I heard about this on the radio and I thought we should go down and join in. Some people are getting a bit frustrated at not finding anything but it's a lot of fun."

Ms Kinchin said part of the work was about a "shared experience and sense of community".

Folkestone's triennial, has previously included works by artists including Tracey Emin, Jeremy Deller and Martin Creed.

The Folkestone Digs, which runs from August 30 to November 2.