Heritage Action talk this weekend about the state-supported myths surrounding artfact hunting in the UK "More myth peddling! Two policemen and a detectorist" (HJ 05/09/2015)
Pc Andy Long, Heritage Crime Officer for Essex, recently tweeted: “Most detectorists follow the Code of practice for responsible metal detecting – nighthawkers don’t!” Er, no Andy, that’s a gigantic whopper. The police and others are constantly confusing the crime divide – between those who break the law and those who don’t – with the cultural damage divide – between those who keep to the official code and those who don’t. Not being a nighthawk just means you’re not a criminal, nothing else. It doesn’t mean you’re responsible – and the reality is that most legal detectorists don’t keep to the official code or report all their finds – and because there are so many of them the knowledge loss they cause dwarfs that done by nighthawks. The figures prove it and PAS agrees. It’s not on to tell the public otherwise.Although it's a thought-provoking read, experience shows that most who write supportively about artefact hunting and collecting neither think nor read. The issues are in general treated extremely superficially in the English-speaking world, which has its knock-on effects in other areas too.
By the way PC Long, the term is "nighthawks".