Thursday 1 December 2011

Twinstead Theft: Message from "Skunky Paul"

I have been invited to post this appeal from the organizer of the Twinstead rally, in case any "metal detectorist" who does not belong to one of the large forums reads it. This was posted on a number of forums yesterday afternoon:
the rest of the people that found gold sovereigns please come forward we can resolve this very bad situation if you all think your getting away with it think again.. these sovereigns are a hoard and are covered under the old treasure trove act... yes it still cover these situations... report all your finds to either your flo or local coroner i have had to make a statement to the police, things are getting well heavy and the offence carries a custodial sentence for the offenders if you come forward and declare your find, you will get a reward declare and post your pictures with pride.. dont hide.... i myself was unaware at the rally regarding the law... i have now been educated... those that have ebayed there finds are in for a bit of a shock also there is some well heavy stuff going down...lets all survive and live another day im a detectorist for detectorists im not the enemy this is a heads up please feel free to circulate this around the forums

Note the fact that despite expensive "outreach" over 13 years by the PAS, an experienced treasure hunter organizing a commercial artefact hunting rally admits he did not know the law on finds (its not rocket science, the definition of Treasure is only 197 words long). This raises of coourse the question how one can be a "law abiding detectorist" if you do not actually KNOW the law. Also note the prospect of a reward is dangled before the noses of those that disregarded their legal responsibility on site, as long as they comply before their 14 days are up. Anybody that has not declared these finds within the 14 days, as per the Treasure Act 1996 is warned on the RallyUK site:
will be facing prosecution which carries a £5000 fine and/or a sentence of imprisonment. Ebay and other outlets are being monitored and all those that have listed them for sale or have already sold them, have had their details recorded, and you can expect a knock on the door very soon, this is not scare mongering it is FACT! [It is probable that] the courts will be requested to make this an example case, so the penalties are going to be severe.
with the usual concerns that "this has put our hobby back 20 years"... The deadline is Sunday 11th December then. Of course those who sold any stolen items will get a "knock on the door" as well as those who bought them. Good to see the police in on the act.

Scare tactics will not work however, it's down to (delayed) honesty. Bazza Thugwit was at the rally, he's on the list of participants and has just put three Edward VII sovereigns on eBay. He says his grandmother gave them to him. Sid Slimebag says he saw Bazza pocketing something in the part of the field where the sovereigns were found. Bazza denies that it was a sovereign and says he recalls it was a ring-pull which he subsequently discarded. What court will convict him? This is precisely the problem with the antiquities market today.

Also the only way a "reward" will materialise is if the object is declared Treasure, a museum says it wants to buy it, and raises the funds from the public. Why any museum would want this hoard is not clear ...

There is still not a peep about this on the PAS website. What an odd way to be going about "Outreach" to "finders".

Vignette: Helping the police to track skunks who steal artefacts.


David Gill said...

Some of the coins are being handed over ... BBC News.

Anonymous said...

"The spokesman said no-one could be prosecuted if they handed the coins in within 14 days from the find, as laid down by the Treasure Act 1996"

Really? So the Treasure Act applies but the Theft Act doesn't? And quietly taking the items home without telling anyone is insufficient evidence of an intention to deprive the rightful owner of them?

Does that also apply at Tesco's?

David Gill said...

Also reported in East Anglian Daily Times, December 2, 2011 Friday.

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