The sexy dress Monica Bellucci donned for her portrayal of CLEOPATRA has been stolen from a French hotel - by a waiter who wanted to impress girls.

The exquisite outfit the MATRIX RELOADED beauty wore in the 2002 French film ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA is worth $180,000 (GBP120,000), as it is spun from gold thread.

The unique garment went missing on Sunday (25MAY03) from the MARTINEZ HOTEL, where it had been on show during the Cannes Film Festival.

The thief, who had just started work at the hotel as a waiter, was arrested yesterday (27MAY03) and quickly confessed he had wanted the dress as a gift for two girls he had met only hours earlier.

The three have been released, but will be charged with theft. The dress was returned to its owner - a firm specialising in film costumes - but it has been badly damaged.

28/05/2003 20:10