It’s common knowledge the Trust allows trail hunting in defiance of public opposition but now it has demonstrated it is behind the times in another respect. It has long  prohibited metal detecting unless supervised by its archaeologists which is fine but it has missed a crucial point when it says:

If you metal detect without a licence you’ll be asked to leave the property. We may take action to reclaim items taken from our land without permission. We’ll report unauthorised metal detecting on Scheduled Monuments to the police.”

That is at odds with the latest Official Advice to Landowners:

“Anyone removing objects from land without the landowner/farmer occupier’s permission is committing theft” and farmers should “call the police, and also make it clear to any attending officer/s that action should to be taken against the offender/s….”

So the official advice isn’t to tell the police just when its a scheduled monument. Anyone caught detecting without a licence on ANY Trust land will be stealing artefacts (and knowledge) and the police should always be called. So we look forward to them amending their text to conform with the latest official advice. We also hope they’ll remove this bizarre statement:

“We recognise that most metal detectorists are highly responsible and report their finds”.

What utter, damaging rot.  The Trust should do its homework.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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