Thursday 6 January 2022

UK Detectorists Stealing from Landowners: "Word it so They Think you are Looking for History Rather Than Anything of Value"

Search and take

 Why do you think members' answers to this are hidden? ( MDF Post by Alaskerr "Negotiating Ownership of Finds with your Permission" (sic) Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:48 am);

I've just ordered my first detector and I've got a fair few garden plots to start with as well as access to a few Crown estate beaches. I'm happy to search out new permissions as I think a lot of the people in my area are intrigued by what could be found. I was wondering how you discuss ownership of Finds though.

I've read if it's Treasure then ownership is usually described as 50% finder and 50% landowner, but what if it's not treasure? I'm guessing the majority of my early finds will be worthless rubbish, but in the event I find buttons and the odd coin, I don't want to have to pay the owner to keep them. I read a guide where they just ask random home owners if they can detect on their land and don't mention the fact that technically anything you find belongs to the home owners. They say to word it so they think you are looking for history rather than anything of value (which is technically true). But I don't want to get all excited over my first coin even if it is common and only worth something to me and then have the owners demand I hand it over.

I was thinking I could say anything that falls under the treasure act will follow the 50:50 rule, but anything outside of this I would get, but always share with them any information about what I find? Do any of you do something similar?

I'd also like to get something in writing if I can get a larger paddock size permission, but would you bother with this when checking out someone's garden? Thanks in advance!
Note how the landowner (a person) is represented as an abstract "your permission". Mr Alaskar is completely wrong in saying "if it's Treasure then ownership is 50% finder and 50% landowner", it is the value that is conventionally split like that, and it is odd that this person thinks that the value of any other property on the landowner's land "should be" acknowledged in any other way. WHY should it be? Alaskerr seems to feel entitled to enrich his collection and himself with other people's property in return for merely sharing information on what he finds and takes away. The cheek of it. In any case, he is legally obliged to say what he has found and is taking away, as not to do so would constitute theft. Pure and simple. And of course this is a false argument: "word it so they think you are looking for history rather than anything of value (which is technically true)". All finds (and even a lot of the scrap metal) have of course a value. A random collection of worn George V pennies sold on eBay has a saleable value. And many metal detecting finds, even very common or broken ones, will find a buyer on eBay (maybe for example in the States where Roman brooches and Medieval buckles are not found in their fields). Although the forum has hidden the replies from you and landowners, guess what other members (92 views so far) have been telling Alaskarr... The majority of detectorists do precisely what he is proposing.

The terms and conditions of the use of metal detectors on Crown Estate beaches [map here] requires all finds to be reported to the PAS - a feature not mentioned in Alaskarr's text here. Also he seems not to have noticed: "The Crown Estate reserves their right to ownership of all or any objects found, and the granting of this permission does not transfer any such rights to you. You may not claim ownership or rights to any objects found on the foreshore by virtue of this consent". The question is why he seems to think that other private landowners have lesser rights to objects he finds on their property.

And just a word to this numpty. If he thinks he's coming into my garden and going to be stomping around my lawns and borders digging holes everywhere... he's another think coming. Even if he were, I'd not be taking my eyes off him for a second, to stop him trampling all over my plants - but then I have no time for that, so the answer would still be no. 


Brian Mattick said...

"word it so they think you are looking for history rather than anything of value (which is technically true)"

So not just theft. Fraud.

Hougenai said...

Psst- Ever heard of the PAS? They have this 'Code of practice' don't you know.
Some would say minimalist, an open secret only a click away, but there it is and part one covers much of his questions.
If too complex, he could always ask a FLO-isn't that why they are there for the purpose of education?

Is it not a bit sad, that some such as myself, a non detectorist, understands the legal aspects re access, search and take . Basic stuff that they don't seem to grasp.

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