Saturday, 15 October 2022

Combatting Heritage Crime in East Anglia: How it Was Going

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: FOI 000481-18 received by Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies on crimes involving metal detector use and theft from archaeological or heritage sites. Between April 2015 and October 2017 (31 months) in these two counties (arguably a region of the UK with one of the highest numbers and densities of metal detector use) just 19 cases were detected. 12 of them were in Suffolk (some sites Icklingham, Otley, Brandon were affected more than once), eight were in Norfolk (of which Thetford was affected three times). Only in ten of them were any people involved identified (in six cases working in pairs or a threesome) Only in three cases was any of the items removed identified: "Flint arrowheads", "Heritage bricks and copping (sic) stones", "Unknown quantity of 12th - 14th Century pottery"... In two cases there were "Evidential Difficulties", both of them in cases "Named Suspect Identified". Only in four cases were there any charges, in two No Further Action and a further six "[crime] undetected". That's not a very good showing. Though it is worthy of note that the entries from May 2016 onwards look as if more effort is being put into the search for heritage criminals.

Hat tip Nigel Swift for the link.

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