Sunday, 26 October 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: The Legalities of the Division of Spoils

Heritage Action (' Ruffians’ rules!) draw attention tothe wider implications of the taking over of the second largest metal detecting organisation, the Federation of Independent Detectorists (FID) by the proprietors of the well-known commercial detecting rally company Central Searchers. This organization and the behaviour of some of its members have been discussed on this blog and by HA in the past. They have appropriated the old FID Code of Conduct, ("Copyright FID 1996" - so well pre-PAS best practice and pre-Treasure Act). In regard to the heritage group's recent discussions of the implications for detecting and collecting practice of the current legal situation on finds ownership (despite zero attention and support from outreach organizations such as the Portable Antiquities Scheme), they note the ancient FID Code includes the phrase: “Make an agreement on sharing finds with the landowner to avoid any later misunderstandings.
No change on the surface then …. unless you know WHO is now saying it: Central Searchers have a find sharing agreement for their rallies that says all non-treasure items found up to the value of £2,000 will belong entirely to the detectorist and not at all to the landowner (and it’s the detectorist alone who does the valuing and decides whether to even show the items). So that’s what they mean by “an agreement on sharing finds to avoid any later misunderstandings”. It’s a fair bet, isn’t it, that the ruffians in the hobby will like the FID rules. A lot. (And the Establishment will look the other way!)
And they continue to do so.

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