Saturday 10 April 2021

UK Metal detecting: Flaunting lockdown Stage 2 Rules because "They Are Only Advisory"?

As British businesses attempt to return to normal as the national lockdown is being wound down, so also is the heritage looting business. There are however problems, because to organise certain kinds of gatherings, even on private land they need agreement from local government. Meanwhile, as the PipelineNews blog has discovered, not everybody seems clear about what is and what is not involved (Despite Claim Shropshire Metal Detecting Rallies NOT Given all Clear by Council)
An English council has warned metal detectorists not to believe implicitly the claims of rally organisers that their events are compliant with the Government’s covid regulations, but to ensure their own actions are compliant. The warning from Shropshire council on the border with Wales comes as this weekend [...]  because, in a statement issued to thePipeLine, Shropshire Council claims that, while they have been in contact with rally organisers Mr Cai Anthony and Mr Charles Lloyd neither Mr Anthony, nor Mr Lloyd have been given permission by the council for events to go ahead in the next few days. 
Cai Anthony runs "Noble Pursuits Metal Detecting" (719 members) and Charles Lloyd runs "Sovereign Metal Detecting Rallys" (1500 members).
If the events go ahead as advertised Mr Anthony would make £600 and Mr Lloyd £750, [...] In the past few weeks Mr Lloyd has claimed on Social Media that, because he operates as a metal detecting business, he is exempt from the regulations in any case, as long as Covid regulations regarding track and trace, social distancing and the Rule of Six are maintained. However, some legal opinion and Government advice, contests this [...] We have been unable to put any questions about the events, their legality or not and the extent of contacts with the council and other authorities to Mr Lloyd or Mr Anthony as they operate as private, members only groups with no public face or contact points accessible to the media and perhaps more importantly, to the authorities.
Pipeline point out that the operation of commercial rally operations like this is less than transparent, and their organisers seemingly "desire to operate with as low a profile, and as little recordable communications, as possible".
That said some at least of Mr Lloyd’s views may be gleaned from recent exchanges with other metal detectorists on social media, and seen by thePipeLine. In one thread a post under Mr Lloyd’s name stated, “And unlike a lot of you clucking hens out there running around in circles firing over rules and regulations that I might add are only advisory [our italics] and not passed by the law at top level, I suggest you concentrate on the real issues of this world. The real issue is not to do [sic] with lawbreaking or people [sic] safety this is to do yet again with a one sided cartel of jealous, troublemaking individuals that are against paid events. You’re all transparent and for  [sic] anyone with a brain cell they can see through this circus of performing clowns.” The Government, the police and council might disagree with the view that the Covid regulations are “only advisory”, and the view was countered by another user who posted, “I run a group myself. I know how the Law works. No-one wants to keep digs on hold for another few weeks but we do because we actually give a shit about the members who actually come out with us. Maybe try thinking about them and their health before thinking about adding that extra few quid to your back pocket.” 

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