Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Leomister/Eye Hoard, Finder 'In it Fer the Munny'

Hoodie-wearing fag-puffin dealer in court
A metal detectorist accused of stealing a £3m Anglo-Saxon coin hoard and priceless jewellery was "in it for the money", a court has heard (BBC, '£3m Saxon coin hoard theft accused 'in it for the money'...' BBC 28 October 2019). Four men are accused of conspiring to conceal the find of a hoard dug up in Herefordshire in June 2015, Worcester Crown Court heard by George Powell and Layton Davies. In a statement in court, reportedly "co-accused Paul Wells said Mr Powell did not want to declare it treasure, instead wanting money". The court heard that the four disregarded the law about reporting such finds and attempted to sell the items in small batches
West Mercia Police officer Det Con Gareth Thomas told the court he spoke to coin dealer Mr Wells, 60, at his home in Newport Road, Cardiff, three months later. He was not under arrest at the time, but was detained after unexpectedly producing a key fob-type magnifying glass and then showing officers five Saxon coins concealed in the lining of the glass's case. He said he had been given them after meeting Mr Powell and Mr Davies in the summer and had been trying to give them back. He told police that Mr Powell rang him to meet up, along with Mr Davies, to show him more of the haul. He claimed Mr Powell told him the 10-12 coins shown at the meeting were all the pair had found, but he then produced three items wrapped in kitchen roll. One was a gold ring, "a bangle with a dragon or a lion eating its tail" and a "rock crystal sphere, an inch-and-a-half in diameter, with a gold attachment". "I realised why George had been so excited," said Mr Wells. He told Mr Powell they must be put into a museum, and felt Mr Davies agreed, "but George said it would be worth at least £30-£40,000" and was "in it for the money". 
The Worcester News has more information about the coins hidden in the magnifying glass (Charlotte Moreau, ' Detector men in court over Herefordshire buried treasure' 29th October):
Giving evidence on Monday, Detective Constable Gareth Thomas told how he spoke to coin dealer Wells at his home in Newport Road, Cardiff, on September 10 2015, leading to an unexpected discovery. At that meeting, Wells, who at that stage was not under arrest, was making a written statement to assist the criminal investigation. But he was detained after producing a key fob-type magnifying glass in front of police. He then showed officers that concealed within the stitched lining of the glass’s leather case were five of the Saxon coins. Wells claimed he had been given the items after a meeting with Powell, 38, and Davies, 51, that summer, and had been trying to give them back. On arrest, he told the detective: “I knew it would come to this.”
There is also more information on how Wells came by the coins before then:
Describing how the two metal detectorists came to hand over a larger sample of coins and three priceless artefacts, Wells recalled the day a “very excited” Powell had rung him some time that June. Retired builder Wells agreed to meet Powell and Davies at a basement cafe, with his business partner, Jason Sallam. Wells described how “Layton and George started pulling stuff out of their pockets” at the meeting. “I do recall the utter disrespect in the way the items - the coins - were produced,” Wells’ statement read. He described them as hammered coins, thin, small and dull grey, looking “extremely rare”. “I knew straight away they were something special,” said Wells. 
The Mail continues the story (Alexander Robertson, 'Metal detectorist, 38, accused of stealing a £3m coin haul and priceless jewellery was 'in it for the money', co-defendant tells court' Mail Online, 28 October 2019):
He [Wells PMB] claimed Powell told him and Mr Sallam that the 10 to 12 coins produced at the meeting were all the pair had found. It was then he had alleged Powell showed him three items wrapped in kitchen roll. One was a gold ring, 'shaped like a 50p', 'a bangle with a dragon or a lion eating its tail' and a 'rock crystal sphere, an inch-and-a-half in diameter, with a gold attachment'. 'I realised why George had been so excited,' said Wells. 'I said to them, they had to immediately be declared so they could go into a museum. 'But George said it would be worth at least £30,000 to £40,000. 'Layton was of the same opinion as me, but George remained focused on the money to the point I had to swear at him to quieten him down. 'We were sat in the cafe, surrounded by people, and I remember saying to George "shut the f*** up".' He added: 'I think Layton was intimidated by George. Both Jason and I were of the opinion Layton wanted to declare the items, while George was in it for the money.' The men agreed the items would be taken for detailed examination by Mr Sallam, who then returned them to Wells. 'Jason explained to me they were so rare it would change the rules of metal detectoring and again relayed the importance of their being declared to the correct authorities,' said Wells. Wells added that when Davies subsequently collected the objects, he passed five coins back to the dealer for safe-keeping, and 'explained to me they had' reported the finds.
Powell, of Kirby Lane, Newport, Davies, of Cardiff Road, Pontypridd, Wells, of Newport Road, Cardiff, and Wicks, of Hawks Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, deny any wrongdoing. The trial continues.


Anonymous said...

In it for the filthy lucre:


Paul Barford said...

Eh? See the word "jailed"?

That's what should happen to all culture criminals and fraudsters: policemen, coin dealers, barbers, bus drivers, and dodgy heritage professionals.

Anonymous said...

I might have missed it, but hadn't seen mention of it on your blog...

Brian Mattick said...

"Ah but there are bad archies"

That's a babyish retort, much used but worthless when tens of thousands of detectorists (usually tattooed) fail to report what they find every week.

Paul Barford said...

Time to start jailing more law-breaking knowledge thieves. Let's see what the verdict is on these charges in this perhaps trend-setting case.

Hougenai said...

A £ says they'll get a ticking off, fine and suspended sentence as they 'were of previous good character' or some other nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I was just making a contribution for balance, Brain. Your considering it babyish doesn't make it so, nor does it make it less valid. What it does do, however, is allow you to ignore the implied point regarding Barford's disproportionate highlighting of detectorist criminality.

Anyway, perhaps you'd like to back up your very mature contention that tens of thousands of predominantly tattooed detectorists fail to report their finds every week with some sort of evidence?

Paul Barford said...

"I might have missed it, but hadn't seen mention of it on your blog..."
Jamie, you not only "might have" but you did. Probably be best to avoid looking like a real illiterate ranting tosser is to FIRST check (search box at the top) before intimating a "lack of balance".


Anonymous said...

"Probably be best to avoid looking like a real illiterate ranting tosser..." Oh dear.

Paul Barford said...

"Anyway, perhaps you'd like to back up your very mature contention that tens of thousands of predominantly tattooed detectorists fail to report their finds every week with some sort of evidence?"

Maybe - but somewhere else as it's off topic, you'd like to marshal the evidence that the contrary is true. Though I do not know how you'd work tattoos into the equation. The latest estimate is that there are 27000 active detectorists in the UK - match that with annual statistics of the PAS and comments like "I've got a bucketload of Roman coins I've found in the last few months alone at home" from one - PROVE to us that he's atypical.

Paul Barford said...

And please Jamie, if you decide to take up the challenge, do it elsewhere. This post is on the Leominster Hoard Trial. Comments under it should reflect that. 'Ordnung muß sein' as we say here in Europe.

Anonymous said...

You'll understand, I'm sure, that it isn't beholden on me to prove myself right, but rather it is up to Brian to prove his contention as he was the one that raised it.

Paul Barford said...

Actually, "you will understand" (if you can) that Brian is referring - among other things - to the pioneer work of Heritage Action, published many, many, years ago, and denied but never refuted: https://www.heritageaction.org.uk/erosioncounter/ (READ the text accompanying it)

This was followed by the British Museum's own admission https://finds.org.uk/documents/guideforresearchers.pdf (page 14 if you cannot find it), this is a very close figure in its essence.

Then Dr Sam Hardy's important text, which is a pretty thorough attempt to quantify the destruction:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397 "Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods"... and his results are just downright shocking in their implications.

This has been followed by my revised version of the HA counter (linked in a sidebar here) https://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2018/07/a-revised-artefact-erosion-counter.html

This is a question that was "raised" and an answer postulated, not just by Brian, in 2004/2005, FOURTEEN long years ago. The later attempts at quantification have shown that the picture may be substantially worse.

By how much would any of these figures, including the lowest (the HA/BM one) have to be wrong, to make things all right? If the revised figure was half of what they indicate for example, so "only" seven million and not 13.5 million? But the problem is the more the issue is looked at, the bigger that shortfall appears to be getting, not smaller.

And in those 14 years in which this issue has been highlighted in plain view, guess how many attempts there have been from the pro-detecting lobby to provide any proper estimates (let alone ones that can be checked) which give a LOWER figure. Guess.

The answer is a big, fat, smelly, all-too-eloquent ZERO. Fourteen years we have been waiting for the pro-detecting side to provide the counter arguments. I'm not really surprised you baulk at the chance to provide actual arguments to back up your "beliefs" that we are in some way "wrong".

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