Monday 23 August 2021

"Operation Fantail", What Took you so Long? Charges in Durham Ceolwulf II Coins Case


   Pillagers in tha villages... 
I first discussed the news here a l-o-o-o-n-g while ago ('UK Knowledge Thieves Lose their Coin Haul', PACHI Thursday, 30 May 2019), the case seemed to be getting nowhere: '"Operation Fantail" and The Eye/Leominster HoardFriday, 4 October 2020; then due to lack of information some confusion and doubts: 'Friday Retrospect: Durham Area Coelwulf Hoard, One Hoard, Two Hoards, Three?', PACHI Friday, 17 April 2020; 'And Maybe they'll Manage to Finish Operation Fantail in 2021?', PACHI Sunday, 3 January 2021;  'Friday Retrospect: Two Years to Prosecute a Case? What Went Wrong?', PACHI Friday, 2 April 2021). Three years it's taken them:

Two men charged after coins from Viking hoard recovered
Durham Constabulary, Thursday 19 August 2021
Two men have been charged after coins from an important Viking hoard were recovered during a police investigation.
Durham Constabulary officers seized a large number of coins and a silver ingot, which have an estimated value of nearly £1 million from properties in County Durham and Lancashire in 2019. It [sic] comes from a Viking hoard and is believed to be of major historical significance.
A 44-year-old man, of Bishop Auckland, and a 73-year-old man, from Loveclough, Lancashire, have both been charged with conspiracy to convert criminal property and possession of criminal property between September 2018 and May 2019.
The 73-year-old man has also been charged with a second count of possession of criminal property. [...] The two men are on unconditional bail and will appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, September 7.
Apparently "the haul" contains coins of Alfred the Great of Wessex and his less well-known contemporary Ceolwulf II of Mercia (like thWatlington Hoard and the Leominster Hoard). 

The men are named by the BBC. On the 'Searcher' Facebook page, it is being alleged that these men were not the finders of the material, but it is being alleged that they were involved in the dispersal of the missing objects from the Leominster hoard. It is being claimed that these men are not metal detectorists at all, but one of the named men is known as the finderr, and reporter of a 15th century pilgrim badge at Overton, Yorkshire in 2011. 

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