Thursday, 1 December 2011

Twinstead Theft: Daily Mirror Writes About Gold, Big Papers Waiting for PAS Press Release?

I do not personally read the Daily Mirror, but those in the UK who do will hear about the Twinstead Gold Theft scandal before the readers of the 'big' papers (Gold rush as metal detectors battle over field of sovereigns). Here too we see the effects of the propaganda, the Daily Mirror describes artefact hunting with metal detectors as "the trainspotter-style hobby" and "the gentle world of metal detecting", I am sure that suits the history-takers to hear themselves referred to in such benign terms. The journalist seems therefore genuinely surprised that this idyllic anorakish world:
has been rocked by a ferocious battle in a field – over a hoard of gold coins. A hundred enthusiasts on a charity day out turned ‘cut-throat’ as they tossed aside their equipment and scrapped over a find of nearly 300 sovereigns, worth £75,000. They then disappeared with the loot, half of which belongs to the farmer who owns the land, instead of declaring it under treasure laws.
That is actually inaccurate, ALL of it belongs to the farmer for no inquest has been held to declare them otherwise.
"It all started peacefully as 200 metal detector fans paid £12 each to scour a field near Twinstead, Essex, on Sunday, raising money for a scout group. Then a novice hit paydirt. One enthusiast said: “The find was made by someone inexperienced who started yelling about a gold coin. Soon there were about 100 individuals digging. It was out of hand. “Metal detecting is a murky, cut-throat world. People were coming up with handfuls of coins and you could see they would have killed for another sovereign.
So the experienced "detectorist" would have just slipped it into his finds pouch and not said anything? The next one too?

The journalist is less incensed by the thievery than aghast at the possibility that the 'anoraks' will now be getting bad publicity:
[...] said our source. “Farmers won’t have us on their land again. Metal detecting could be set back 20 years.”
One bloke is quoted as playing down the whole affair, suggesting to the journalist that there were "only seven coins" stolen. Theft is theft Mr Wilcox. How many other things routinely are taken off a landowner's property without him being fully appraised of it by artefact hunters?

UPDATE 3/12/11: One UK metal detecting forum has refused to allow its members to discuss this topic, justifying that by the conspiracy theory the story was false and made up by journalists "to sell papers".

I note that most of those who picked up the Mirror story yesterday (I wonder whether the big papers have decided this is "not news" and decided - or been asked - not to cover it) refer to it being a "missing" (sic) hoard rather than a stolen one. It has been stolen from the landowner who allowed these law-breakers (the ones that stole the coins) onto his land. I see this news is even being reported in Nigeria.

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