Sunday 3 January 2021

And Maybe they'll Manage to Finish Operation Fantail in 2021?

On 30th May 2019, there was a news item  item ('Viking coin haul 'of historical significance'...BBC 30th May 2019) that told of a haul of coins of Alfred the Great of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia that had been recovered by police action 

"Viking coins estimated to be worth at least £500,000 and "of major historical significance" have been recovered by police. The large number of coins and silver ingot were seized from properties in County Durham and Lancashire. Durham Police said "a number of people have been arrested" on suspicion of dealing in culturally tainted objects. It declined to confirm how many people were arrested or how they allegedly came to be in possession of the items. [...] The coins and ingot were handed over to the museum after being seized earlier this month". 

Steven Auker ('The Man in the Hat') talks about this case here, and titled it "Metal detecting coins worth £500k STOLEN from National Heritage site":


Some of the comments underneath are interesting:
LittleJohn_MD 1 year ago
I stay away from that Clan of wrong uns after I found out what they are all upto ages ago. They all make out nice as pie on video but are real monsters if anyone gets in the way of them making money and have no shame in attacking your family either. Take Care Stephen and Stay Safe
Threats of attacks on families from metal detectorists seem to be part of the thuggish landscape of British detecting. 

The 'success' of catching the thieves with the metal detectors was all over the media 18 months ago:

Chiara Giordano, 'Hoard of Viking coins seized during police raid could ‘change British history’ The Independent: Friday 31 May 2019 (where we learn that the seizure was called 'operation fantail')

Yuan Ren, 'Police investigating illegal trade in historic treasures find hoard of Viking coins worth at least £500,000 that could rewrite Alfred the Great's role in British history' Daily Mail 30 May 2019

Ashley Cowie. 'Illegal Viking Coin Hoard Worth £500,000 Threatens (sic) To Rewrite English History'Ancient Origins ', 2nd June 2019

BBC: Viking coin haul 'of historical significance' 30 May 2019

Gary Welford, 'Coins from Viking hoard which could change history recovered by Durham police', Sunderland Echo Thursday, 30th May 2019

Dominic Moffitt 'Viking hoard found in police raids Lancashire and Durham could change British history', Lancs Live 2 Jun 2019

Durham Police have 'refused to give further detail on the arrests'. But DI Lee Gosling, senior investigating officer for Operation Fantail at Durham Constabulary, is quoted as saying:
“We are in the very early stages of what is going to be a very long and complex investigation. “We believe the material recovered comes from a hoard of immense historical significance relating to the Vikings and we are delighted to have been able to hand it over to the British Museum. [...] Police said the investigation was ongoing and that a “number of people” were arrested on suspicion of dealing in “culturally tainted objects”.

But since May 2019 all of them have been walking around free as the authorities go through the motions of "doing something".


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