Sunday, 10 March 2019

Asked for 'Search and Take Permission', Farmer Said No

Charlie Flindt © Kathy Horniblow
A Hampshire farmer was intrigued why so many metal detectorists suddenly became interested in searching his land and requesting he issue them a 'Permission to Search and Take' document (Charlie Flindt, 'Flindt on Friday: Why metal detectorists keep bugging me', Farmers' Weekly 16 March 2018).:
The caller explained that I didn’t know him and he hoped that I didn’t mind the cold call but he was a metal detectorist and was on the hunt for new area to practise his hobby. I had trouble stopping him – he was in full flow reading from his script all about the million billion pound insurance he had and how all finds were shared 50/50 – but finally I managed to get a word in. “Sorry, no can do,” I explained. “This farm is National Trust land and metal detectors aren’t allowed.” He sounded disappointed, hung up [...] A couple of days later, there was hammering on the front door [...] Big lad, he was, with the demeanour of one of our friends from the white van community. “Hello, mate,” he said. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s never a good start. I was expecting a request for scrap or an astonishing deal on Tarmac but instead he too went off on a metal-detecting speech.  Once again, I had to stop him with my National Trust line. He didn’t seem to believe me and had real trouble accepting “no” as an answer. [...]  He then went back to his noisy van, which had been parked round the back, and that had another surly “mate” in it. These two were dodgy enough to warrant a text to our local PC. 
There was a spate of other attempts at the same time (on Facebook, 'and up popped a request from a metal detectorist. There it was again – all the same spiel'). Mr Flindt started to think something was going on 'when a nicely typed letter arrived with the same request, and a stamped addressed envelope ready for my reply'. It was all apparently prompted by an article in the Hampshire Chronicle.
A detectorist had made a significant and valuable find in a “secret” mid-Hants location: a very rare coin from the reign of Emperor Carausius, worth thousands. It all made sense. The calls have stopped now but it wouldn’t surprise me to find a field full of little holes one morning. 

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