For years we’ve campaigned for them to add a 4th and 5th definition of nighthawking to their Encyclopaedia. In 2012 they added the 4th (detecting with permission but concealing what you find) but they still refuse to add the 5th (lying to landowners about the value of finds).

But now, see the new Sentencing Council Guidelines on Theft. High culpability is indicated if someone: 1. abuses a position of trust, 2. deliberately targets the victim on the basis of vulnerability, 3. attempts to conceal or dispose of items and 4. there’s evidence of wider community impact. All four pointers are on show if you lie to a farmer about value and don’t insist he gets an independent valuation. That’s clear theft everywhere outside the peculiar world of PAS press releases and Glasgow’s encyclopaedia, where silence prevails.

But keeping farmers informed really matters, and the new Home Office Crime Prevention Strategy shows why: “There is conclusive evidence that crime increases when there are more opportunities to offend and falls when the number of opportunities is reduced”. Glasgow has ignored us on this matter (which has severe consequences for both landowners and heritage) for years but from now on they’ll have to ignore both the Sentencing Council and the Home Office. Maybe they’ll think again? We suspect they will, for they exhibit a willingness to tell the truth without fear in other areas, as shown by their recent superb site update:

“Collectors of rare and precious orchids and antiquities valorize their participation in markets that are known to be in quite considerable degree illicit, appealing to ‘higher loyalties’ such as preservation, appreciation of aesthetic beauty and cultural edification. ”

A blind spot regarding metal detecting theft sits very uncomfortably with that!

 

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