Friday, 24 January 2020

Leominster: Sickly Numismatist gets a Suspended Sentence

Fags not good
 for the health
This sentence was supposed to have been delivered a month ago, in December last year (BBC, 'Man gets suspended sentence for hiding Viking treasure' 24/1/2020). Most of the estimated 300 coins believed to be in the hoard are still missing:
Paul Wells was one of four men guilty of stealing and concealing about 300 coins found in a field in Eye, near Leominster in Herefordshire, in 2015. The coin seller was handed a 12-month suspended jail sentence at Worcester Crown Court. He was sentenced after his co-defendants because he was ill at the time of his conviction in November. The 60-year-old from Cardiff, and fellow seller Simon Wicks, were found guilty of concealing the find [...] Wells admitted during his trial he knew the coins should [have been] declared under the Treasure Act[...]  Just 31 coins - worth between £10,000 and £50,000 - and some pieces of jewellery have been found [...] Judge Nicolas Cartwright suspended Wells's jail sentence for two years and ordered him to do 15 days of rehabilitation and 240 hours of unpaid work. He acknowledged Wells had "significant health difficulties", which made his position "very different to that of your co-accused"
It did not stop him from committing the offence however. Depending on the circumstances, perhaps the other three are worried that Wells knows, or could find out where the other 260 coins ("worth between £10,000 and £50,000") are and monetise them himself before the other three get out. Perhaps that is part of the judge's strategy.

The journalist got a bit confused writing about the Treasure Act which his readers were told "is so proceeds can be shared between the finder and landowner". Hmmm. When are the PAS going to arrange information sessions for the British press so we see less of this nonsense?


Brian Mattick said...

I think "information sessions" would be better conducted by an impartial body, which means not PAS.

Remember how one brigand dug up a hoard without archaeologists and boasted "the FLO said we done good"?

And what about PAS's well-worn mantras: "Most detectorists are signed up to a code of practice that requires them to stop digging and call in the experts over significant discoveries" which is a bloody lie and "They must also report all finds" which is an even worse bloody lie.

PAS has long demonstrated it equates its own survival with not telling the truth about detecting so its information sessions would be a travesty.

Paul Barford said...

I was thinking of the PAS that the public should be getting for all that money, rather than the shambles we currently have - where there never has been an initiative to make the press aware enough to be able to write of portable antiquities matters independently, rather than cut and paste press releases from Bloomsbury. As in other areas of public life in Britain, they are maintaining their power by avoiding telling it like it is.

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