Sunday, 18 October 2015

Nice, Intelligent People, or Thick, Money Grabbing, Deceitful, NightHoiking Oiks?

No permissin, but
going there anyway
A group of metal detectorists all publicly recommend nighthawking and one of them also recommends falsifying a treasure findspot so as to claim a reward from the taxpayer under false pretences... " Unusual situation - What do you think...." (sic).

Member "Bodkin" from West Cornwall has a problem, musing: "If ever there was a grey area in detecting permissions, could this be the greyest?". He spoke to a farmer
"who tells me that these two fields belong/were left to his brother - a Banker in the U.S and that I'd never get hold of him. This farmer has
given me permission on his brother's behalf as he farms the fields, and I can use the farm address to record finds as the fields are still part of the farm. I need to be quick as the ground will be turned soon and I want to start tomorrow morning...". He admits "The 1st rule of detecting is to get the landowner's permission. That's not a viable option in this situation but this is the next best thing".
So, it is not a "grey area" at all. He has not permission from its owner either to be on the land or to remove property (artefacts) from it. The notion of writing a letter and buying a stamp for a self-addressed envelope seems not to have crossed his mind. If it is "not an option" to go on somebody's land and remove his property (whether or not a third party "knows about it") then it is not an option either in terms of responsibility or legality to remove historical artefacts from it.

The members of this particular forum however see no big problem in an artefact hunter and collector not having full search and take permission. "Liz" from "Rutland" for example is quite sanguine  (Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:14 pm) about him going there and taking stuff. Likewise, [Jez] "maximuswarks" (Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:54 pm) urges him: "Crack on with it m8". Member "All the gear!" from Chelmsford in Essex (Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:24 pm) says "Crack on bods, Green light mate I thinks [emoticon]" "your (sic) not going to get bothered by anyone by the sounds of it". [Tony] "Bibbsy" also from Darkest Essex (Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:22 pm) says: "its a go go go for me [emoticon]". "Simon" from Southeast London (Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:27 pm) advises (with as many as three emoticons but no capitalisation): "go for it ben ..". Meanwhile, Alan Joyce from London has a suggestion to get round the legal issues (Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:21 pm):
Ben If you find anything that is classed as treasure the owner of the field's (sic) would have to attend the coroner's court,find it on the field next to it where the owner can attend.
Or maybe keep off fields where you do not have the owner's full permission, do not lie to cover up. Member "glennsniper" from Warrington in Cheshire (notably, himself a former Treasure finder) concurs with Alan Joyce (Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:23 pm):
I would go for it Bods, the 'owner' isn't going to be bothered living on the other side of the pond. Good advice from A J though
Note the scare quotes on the word owner, whether that's because he is "a banker" or dwells across the Atlantic is not clear. Nevertheless the land (and all the artefacts in it) do have an owner and Glennsniper is advocating stealing from him and then telling a lie to cover up for it. It is also a wide assumption that a random person "living the other side of the pond" would not be interested in artefacts several centuries or millennia old from their property, many Americans are very interested in having and holding such artefacts. One cannot assume that the landowner "would not be bothered" and simply take their property. It seems "Polhigey" a detectorist from Wendron, Cornwall fancies him or herself as a bit of a lawyer and attempts a looter-friendly exegesis of the Theft Act (Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:38 pm):
Covered for the purposes of the Theft Act which states Theft occurs " if there is dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive the other of it" ( NIGHTHAWKS FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY) In your case there is no dishonest appropriation as you have been given permission by a family member acting on behalf of his brother and knowing you will offer the land owner the opportunity to take any of the finds you make so no intention to permanently deprive. Safe as houses Ben
The finder is not in a position to "offer the opportunity to take any of the finds [he makes]' since he is not the legal owner of them. Under S.6 (1) Theft Act 1968 a person is treated as having the necessary 'Intention to permanently deprive' if they treat the property as their own regardless of the owners rights. This covers situations even where the defendant intends to return the property to its owner. All the finds belong to the landowner, and by suggesting that contacting him beforehand is "not a viable option in this situation", the artefact hunter pocketing them without notification is indeed committing theft and all those encouraging him to do so apparently would easily do the same.

Note how easily in this discussion the misreporting of findspots is regarded as a perfectly acceptable technique of 'laundering' potentially troublesome finds. How many of the 'findspots;' in the PAS database does this apply to? We have seen the PAS quite happily swallow without much question (and without requiring documentation of) the stories of their "partners" even if the findspot quoted raises suspicions, or does not tally with the external evidence.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

UPDATE 24th October 2015
Now take a look at the way "Bodkins" deals with the answer to his request for an opinion on the propiety of metal detecting and taking historical artefacts from land where he has no proper permission to be - he attacks my mother !!

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  


heritageaction said...

This .... "find it on the field next to it" is "laundering by findspot" and theft (and, if Treasure is found, defrauding the taxpayer too) which Glasgow University, the police and the authorities don't acknowledge is a big problem. I hope they read that thread before it gets zapped.

Paul Barford said...

Do you think the PAS is in the slightest bit interested in following ANY discussion? I really do not see any evidence of that on any of the forums, do you?

Brian Curtiss said...

And they can do what exactly under the law? Not trying to sound adversarial - I truly don't know the laws regarding talking about committing fraud, or the intent to commit fraud, in the UK versus the USA. Do they commit resources there to investigating the possibility that someone might/is going to break the law? Only happens in the USA to drug kingpins and suspected to hopefully nail them for other crimes to eliminate the threat. If it's not something like that... Well... Resources get spent elsewhere. How big of a fish is this for UK police to fry? I don't know the answer which is why I'm asking.

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