Thursday 13 February 2020

Sussex Police Talk Fluff

Sussex Police, 'Rogue metal detectorist hits Winchelsea, near Rye', 13th Feb 2010.
Police are investigating criminal damage in medieval Winchelsea, thought to have been caused by a rogue metal detectorist. The illegal activity on what is a protected site within the Ancient Town was reported to Sussex Police on Tuesday (11 February) [...] The site is protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and disturbing it is illegal.
Jolly good, 'investigate' away, hope you catch them. But don't give us the crap:
Heritage crime officer and police community support officer Daryl Holter said: [...] "The majority of detectorists adhere to the law and the code of practice for responsible metal detecting, reporting their finds to both the landowner and the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).
 What is the basis for that statement? The majority adhere to the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting, yes? Actually there is a huge number, I'd not like to guess whether its a majority or not (but neither should PC Holter) that jolly well do not. 'The majority' are reporting their finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)? What? A bit of simple mathematics will show that's not true either. They simply are not. The PC has made a mistake (or is telling lies). As for 'the majority' are reporting their finds to the landowner, are they? What evidence is there for that? Who is right here, PC Holter or Farmer Silas Brown? I'm going with Silas.

I wonder whether we'd see the same from Sussex Police in other cases:
Police are investigating theft of a bicycle from a supermarket carpark in medieval Winchelsea, thought to have been taken by a man in a denim jacket filmed taking it on the CCTV. Police community support officer Daryl Holter said: [...] "The majority of men who choose to wear denim in the UK adhere to the law and abide by the regulations in supermarket carparks...".
Unlikely, isn't it. So what's so blooming special about "metal detectorists"? PC  Holter?

If I were you, gentle reader, I'd not believe a word of what Sussex Police say here. And frankly, I think all collection-driven exploitation that destroys the archaeological record is done by rogues and knowledge thieves.

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