Illegal metal detecting in Warminster and Westbury raises concern

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By nhavergal | Monday, January 28, 2013, 11:04

Illegal metal detecting has become an issue in the Warminster and Westbury area according to English Heritage and police. 

Metal detecting has been conducted illegally on sites such as Battlesbury Hill, Cley Hill, Bratton Camp and Scratchbury Hill all of which are known as important heritage sites. 

Due to metal detecting the English Heritage upon visiting the sites discovered ground disturbance and police believe this not to be an isolated incident. 

Metal detecting which is also known as 'Nighthawking' is a form of theft unless professional detectorists who follow the appropriate guidelines and report their findings. 

Inspector Lindsey Winter, Area Inspector for the Warminster, Westbury, Tisbury and Mere said: "Many protected archaeological sites in Wiltshire are very popular places, but to hear that people are visiting these sites with the intention of stealing from the land is extremely disappointing."

National Trust archaeologist, Martin Papworth said: "The recent activity is of great concern. We have no idea what has been taken and the archaeological understanding and context of each item has now been lost."

English Heritage is appealing for anyone with information regarding suspicious metal detecting to contact them. 

The Policing and Crime Advisor for English Heritage, Mark Harrison said: "The practice of illegal metal detecting and stealing artefacts from the ground is an issue that English Heritage takes very seriously. There are not people enjoying a hobby, nor professionals carrying out a careful study. Any objects removed belong to the landowner, and the history that is being stolen belongs to all of us."

Inspector Lindsey Winter adds: "The general public need to understand that illegal metal detecting is an offence, and that those visiting sites for this purpose are not welcome."

Members of the public with information regarding illegal metal detecting can call English Heritage on: 0117 9750700. 



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