Some say we should highlight the good in unregulated metal detecting, not just the bad. We’d love to, but we live in a reality which PAS and many others ignore: the good is far outweighed by the bad and praising the activity year after year aids and abets the bad.

Why? Because in our reality 99.99% of the fields of England and Wales aren’t scheduled so if anyone can persuade a landowner to let them do so they can dig into them randomly, selectively, repeatedly, singly or in large numbers (increasingly “for charity”) and keep whatever they find.

Abroad that’s regarded as looting, in the sense it’s a crime against society. Because it is. Why then should we rejoice about the process or jubilate that PAS gets to see 30% of the finds? The countryside is our national encyclopaedia and PAS, to bolster it’s own existence, isn’t warning landowners loud and clear that hundreds of pages are being ripped out every day.

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A deserted medieval village - the most prized search location of all for detectorists. Heritage England has just posed the question:

A deserted medieval village – the most prized search location of all for detectorists. Heritage England has just posed the question: “What can such places tell us?” The principal thing they can tell us is that Britain’s stewardship of them is disgusting.

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