Thursday 27 September 2012

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: How to Catch Nighthawks in Lincolnshire?

Lincolnshire County Council's historic environment officer Sarah Grundy says "genuine metal detecting enthusiasts" (ie enthusiastic artefact hunters and collectors with genuine metal detectors) have "been very helpful" during surveys carried out on a Roman site at Marton, Lincolnshire so presumably she's not too worried about them spending their time when not working on her project plundering  Lincolnshire's historic environment which she is paid (presumably) to protect for collectables to hoard away or sell on. However she is saddened by the fact that non-genuine and unenthusiastic artefact hunters and collectors have been visiting the Marton site too. At night and not with the landowners' permission. Now she is worried that this "illegal metal detecting may mean that the full story of the Roman occupation of the Marton site may never be known". But it's OK, "all the historical finds had been safely removed by the team when this incident took place".
Police are investigating after illicit 'nighthawkers' gained access to the dig on Saturday, September 22. "There were definitely nighthawkers digging without permission and they made quite a mess, with holes all over the place,"
ms Grundy is quoted as saying. Not only were they not as "enthusiastic" and "genuine" as the other guys, but they did not fill their holes in. Probably they were disgruntled that they'd not found anything as the team working with the archaeologists had already "done the site over".

What on earth does "genuine metal detecting enthusiasts" mean in the real world, not in the lingo of PAS spin? It says in the paper:
Witnesses or anyone with information about illegal metal detecting can call the Lincolnshire Police non-emergency number on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
although it does not say how their readers are to determine whether two unshaven, overweight guys with metal detectors they spot on a Thursday afternoon in a field in camo gear are legal metal detectorists or illegal ones. Perhaps they will have to go by how "enthusiastic" and "genuine" they look. Or perhaps they ought to report anyone they see with a metal detector (surely witnesses who think a crime is being committed should be encouraged to use the EMERGENCY number) in order that by pulling them all in for questioning, the police will at last be able to catch a few more trespassing thieves disguised as so-called "genuine metal detecting enthusiasts".

 'Police hunt 'nighthawkers' after dig site raid', Lincolnshire Echo, Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vignette: Enthusiasts in Lincolnshire fields

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