We grumble about PAS but it’s only fair to distinguish between the organisation and those who have to carry out the policies – sometimes with distaste, no doubt. Take the upcoming Central Searchers Summer Rally where 500 people will pay £30,000 to dig. The FLOs aren’t fans of large rallies anyway but they have extra reasons to dislike this one as it’s being run under the notorious Central Searchers “rule”: all non-Treasure item worth up to £2,000 are owned by the detectorist alone.

Everyone knows that’s designed to be grossly unfair to the landowner yet the FLOs have to pretend they don’t know what is happening. In addition, they can hardly fail to know it guarantees a lot of stuff won’t get reported – the sort of person that thinks such a rule is OK is hardly going to be scrupulous about what they (alone) assess as worth less than £2,000 and is unlikely to reveal anything really valuable lest people point out it’s worth more than the threshold and needs to be shared with the farmer!

And there’s more. The advert says FLOs will be there yet incredibly there’s no rally rule or even request to report finds to them.  Thus we have FLOs as educated, cultured people having to attend a mass, self-seeking event in the humiliating role of supplicants on behalf of the public, having to appear grateful for whatever limited favours acquisitive people with Lilliputian moral comprehension deign to bestow. And always to smile.

"I really, really admire you artefact hunters!"

“I really admire you artefact hunters!”


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting