It’s not exactly hard to see, given the large number of detectorists and the relatively small percentage of people listed by PAS as “finders”, that an awful lot of detectorists – the great majority – don’t report all or even any of their finds and as such are knoweledge thieves who harm the rest of us.

So the fact PAS never says so makes PAS complicit and means our elected representatives are kept unaware of the problem. But WHY does PAS say nothing? Well, the broad answer is that PAS sees its own welfare as lying in not offending detectorists. Not that it admits it. But four years ago this week, just for a moment, it said so to its staff:

pas PRE xMAS

Tragic, isn’t it? For a good legal reason they insist their staff don’t criticise single individuals by name. Yet they are all perfectly free to criticise the thousands of unnamed detectorists who act just as badly. Yet they never do.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting