Paying farmers £1,000 for access isn’t the only new metal detecting innovation. In Essex the “charity rally” wheeze has been improved. Local freemasons have been persuaded to approach farmers instead of the detectorists (presumably to lend a greater air respectability to the proposal). However, let no-one doubt who the intended winners of the proposal are: “Finds with a potential value of under £500 would remain the sole property of the finder”.

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if all the conservation bodies warned farmers that those nice, charitable freemasons are unaware that:

1.) Rallies, whatever their form and whoever proposes them and whether for charity or not, are likely to damage heritage.

2.) The vast majority of finds found will be worth under £500 so almost everything that is ever found, despite belonging to the farmer and totalling millions of pounds a year, will go to neither the farmer nor the charity but will be pocketed by the detectorists.