Following our recent article bitterly criticising them Regton’s reacted the very next day by featuring the official Code of Responsible Detecting on their website! So, by virtue of calling a spade a spade we have brought about (in 1 day and free of charge) a big positive step for conservation, one that 15 years of archaeological outreach had totally failed to produce.

25 July 2012, a moment of history:
Britain’s largest metal detector retailer suggests to its customers they might care to act decently towards the rest of the community (or not, if they prefer).

We may even have helped reverse some of the probable damage caused by the recent Secret Treasures programmes as Regton’s have also amended their “Advice to Newcomers” to include the clear statement: “You should note the location of any archaeological objects you find and take these to your local Finds Liaison Officer to record it”. Incredibly then, a metal detecting retailer is now making the crucial statement that six days of expensive prime time programming and breathless treasure-blather failed to get across!

Of course, this is still artefact hunting so it’s only a token move towards doing the right thing. Regton’s are still supporting the NCMD’s “kid-farmers-you’re-responsible-while-avoiding-the need-to-report-to-PAS” Code and are implying it’s just as acceptable to use as the proper one. Of course, it isn’t, and the artefact hunter isn’t born that could defend it but clearly Regton’s are never, ever going to go as far as dropping it since no-one ever got rich selling detectors without pandering to the wishes of the ignorant, unthinking and unwilling – nor indeed did anyone ever set up a national metal detecting organisation without doing so.

Perhaps PAS can take heed of what has happened though. Endless sucking up may not be as effective as  – what shall we call it – muscular outreach. There are still hundreds of other artefact hunting organisations (retailers, manufacturers and detecting clubs) citing the NCMD con-Code as being the one to use. If Regton’s can be shamed into at least mentioning the right one then they can too. Or are we to have another fifteen years of polite diplomacy and the avoidance of allegedly “unhelpful” words like “knowledge theft”, “selfish” and “unheroic”? A lot of people, not one of them a responsible detectorist, will be hoping so.


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting