Police say people carrying metal detectors were seen leaving woods at the St Helen’s Picnic Site at Santon Downham, near Thetford where lies the site of the former St Helen’s Church (Chris Bishop, 'Was ancient church at Santon Downham, near Thetford, targeted by nighthawks?' Eastern Daily Press 6 March, 2017).
A police rural crime e-mail says: “Nighthawks were found exiting the trees near the church. They were carrying metal detectors and spades. They were challenged but left the area before officers could arrive. A vehicle index was taken and the investigation will continue as possible illegally obtained finds could have been removed from the historic site.” The incident is the latest in a series of suspected raids on heritage sites in Norfolk. [...] Nighthawks dig up coins and other relics to sell on the black market .Not all of them, some are raiding known sites simply to add to their own personal artefact collection. Like those that ask the landowner's permission first.