For ages we’ve said Glasgow University should add a 5th type of “nighthawking” to their Encyclopaedia: “Having permission to detect but not revealing a find or misrepresenting its worth”. Now, the Sentencing Council’s new Guidelines on Theft Offences seem to suggests that’s true, for they identify:

3 relevant offences
1. “Going equipped for theft or burglary”
2. “Handling stolen property” and
3. “Making Off without Payment”
and 4 indicators of high culpability
1. “If the offender abuses a position of power or trust”
2. “Deliberately targets the victim on the basis of vulnerability”
3. “Attempts to conceal or dispose of items”and
4. “There is evidence of community/wider impact.”

Clearly, if you don’t show a find or misrepresent its value, all 3 offences and all 4 high culpability indicators are present! How is that not theft while detecting, i.e. the fifth (and vastly most common) instance of nighthawking?