Monday 21 November 2011

Punishing Illegal Artefact Hunting in England and Wales

This is what happened to the car of a metal detector user caught red-handed illegally looking for artefacts on a site protected by law. A court ruled his motor was to be crushed following his sentencing. A Judge at Cloud Cuckton Crown Court ordered that the Audi A3 belonging to defendant 21-year old Barry Thugwit, of Lower Darkmess, Barsettshire be forfeited when he was sentenced to three years in prison last month. He had previously admitted metal detecting on protected sites using the car on three occasions between June 21 and 24 of this year. The vehicle, which was seized following his arrest, was handed to the police after the order from court and a decision was made to crush it. Detective Inspector Lancelot Goodguy, who ran the operation that led to the arrest of Mr Thugwit, said: “This car was used to facilitate the metal detecting and was forfeited to the police by the judge. By crushing it we are sending out a very clear message to others that we will not tolerate culture crime Barsettshire".

Source: Bedfordshire on Sunday, 'Ever wondered what happens to a drug dealer's car? Judge sends out a clear message that this is a crime that will not be tolerated',20/11/2011 (slightly amended).

Meanwhile in wilder Wales, metal detector users seem more prone to use other methods to deal with the 'black sheep' in the metal detector-using artefact hunting community. Such is their feeling of a bond with 'their' sites, that they declare publicly that they are willing take the law into their own hands to punish offenders without involving law enforcement. According to one "Detecting Wales" list member, people were suspected to be artefact hunting a hoard findspot by night and without the permission of the (hunting-shooting-and-fishing) landowner:

They were spotted by the game keeper who has night vision glasses. I think I will join him on a night time hunt, see who it is. I should be able to spot them, in the light of their burning car.
The use of violence among metal detector using artefact hunters in competition for access to 'productive sites' is an aspect which I wonder if Felicity Winkley will be covering in her NCMD-backed survey of the attitudes of metal detector using artefact hunters "to landscape and objects' findspots".

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