Saturday 10 April 2021

UK Metal Detectorists Gang of Five Trash Protected Sites

            Chester Magistrates Court       
According to the Facebook page of the 'Services Archaeology and Heritage Association', Five men appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on April 9th, and admitted heritage crimes at Cheshire's Beeston Castle and Roche Abbey in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. They each pleaded guilty to removing, without written consent, objects of archaeological/historical interest found by a metal detector in a protected place. The men were named as Francis James Ward (32), Curtis Barlow (32), Daniel James Lloyd (33), John Andrew Lorne (29), all from Droylsden, and Gary Flanagan (33) from Audenshaw. The charges concerned coins and an axehead taken from the two sites.

The Prosecuting said police were tipped off about a series of artefacts trying to be sold to an antiques dealer, who became suspicious. Police searched Ward's address and found a phone containing a Whatsapp metal detecting group, show targeting of schedule sites. Mr Stanley said the prosecution wanted to impose a Criminal Behaviour Order which would prevent the men from possessing metal detectors in a public place.
The point is of course that this is not about "ownership" of the objects, but the destruction of archaeological knowledge.

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