Tuesday 10 June 2014

UK Metal Detectorists Laugh about Metal Theft

Try to sell dodgy metal, end up in court
Readers may remember metal detectorist sock-puppets soothing a few days ago that the police were ever-vigilant now over nighthawking thefts and we need not worry about that kind of looting. I discussed another kind of theft, knowledge theft as unidentified artefacts taken from archaeological assemblages are discarded in hedges and melted down for scrap and the proceeds pocketed. The author of another of those 'Anonymous' accounts on a metal detecting blog seems to have his or her own experience of selling metal artefacts for melting down. It seems that his experience is the no-questions-asked approach still applies to the sort of things an illegal metal detectorist would be bringing in for melting down:
the funny bit about the Trolls blog [he means this blog, using a term suggested by the British Museum, and I think he meant to use an apostrophe] is the link to the laws on scrap metal, he has no idea how it works[.] if you take a load of BT cable then expect to get asked where it came from. Take a load of dirty old lead no one cares as they can see it came from a field and not the church roof. Now where did i put my ladder lol lol
Note that I made some very specific points about the pragmatics of detecting and the legal status of the material which Mr Janner is walking off with and melting down. Then look at the dismissive manner in which these people deal with the comments. How on earth can anyone expect any kind of responsible behaviour and reflexivity from a milieu full of individuals like that? As others have been arguing, it becomes clearer that it is time to pack in the response to artefact hunting for ancient relics based on the unproven premise that these people will behave like ordinary folk and introduce some regulation which cuts down the opportunities for abuse.

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