They found a plastic pirate periscope, something that looked like a breast implant and a crack pipe. Not to mention condoms, bullets, carpet, a packed suitcase and more than 10 Christmas trees.

On the beach.

Those were among the most unusual items found by the 2,800 volunteers who cleaned up beaches from Oceanside to Imperial Beach last year. In all, they recovered two-and-a-half tons of garbage during 18 cleanups.

The cleanups sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation and San Diego Coastkeeper found 34,288 cigarette butts. And 22,570 were found in the city of San Diego, which has banned smoking at the beach — with mixed results. The most butts (6,500) were found during a late August cleanup near Pacific Beach Drive.

Cigarettes represented the most common type of litter found; plastics were the next most common.

The figures do not include litter picked up during large post-July 4 beach cleanups.

ROB DAVIS

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