Monday, 17 February 2014

Essex Man in Court over Nighthawking Allegations


"Nighthawking is illegal metal-detecting
on archaeological sites and private land
in order to recover treasure or other items of value,
and is performed where permission to survey and dig 
has been refused or never sought".
(Royston Weekly News,  17 February 2014)

A man is due to appear in court accused of stealing a gold solidus of the Carolingian ruler Louis the Pious ("worth £15,000") from a site in Cambridgeshire through illegal use of a metal detector.  It is alleged that it was stolen in Meldreth, just south of Cambridge, in October 2009.
In April 2013, officers were contacted by the British Museum who reported a suspected case of someone failing to declare treasure under the Treasure Act. The following month, officers executed a search warrant at a house in Grays, Essex, and seized two coins. Following several months of liaison with English Heritage, a 51-year-old man from Grays was interviewed by officers in June 2013 and has now been summoned to appear at Basildon Magistrates Court on Thursday to face two charges of theft.
Essex Police takes a lead in England and Wales on illegal artefact hunting and have been gathering intelligence on various national targets. The 51-year-old is also accused of taking a gold Roman coin ("worth £200") from Castle Acre in Norfolk. The man will appear in Basildon Magistrates Court on Thursday, February 20 to face the charges. Now obviously there is more to this story than meets the eye. A single coin, no matter what  it is worth and whether declared or not is not legally "Treasure".    

It is worth noting where these sites are in relation to the metal detectorist's home. The map shows (in black) the journey  of the guys looting in Baylam Farm, and the red route is to Meldreth, and (beyond Cambridge) the scheduled site at Castle Acre. 

Source: Lucy Ross-Millar,  'Man to face two theft charges after £15,000 coin of Louis the Pious stolen in Meldreth', Cambridge News,  17 February 2014

'Grays man to appear in court charged with stealing £15,000 coin', Echo News, 17th February 2014.

See also for other metal detectorists from the same place (I used to live there):
'Metal Detecting Gang Violence Reported', Sunday, 20 March 2011
'More Criminals Caught with Metal Detectors', Wednesday, 5 September 2012

1 comment:

Andy Baines said...

Yes I don't understand why they are saying it is a treasure find as a single gold coin isn't. Unless more coins were found? I will have a search around and see if I can find any more information
www.diaryofadetectorist.blogspot.co.uk

 
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