American Joseph LaFargue’s reaction to the imprisonment of the Leominster Hoard thieves was: “Finders keepers…losers weepers is what we say here in the good old U.S. of A”.

Of course, the view of American metal detectorists wouldn’t normally matter, but for the fact that hundreds of them come over here on organised detecting holidays to find what they can. How many of them think like Joseph?

The holiday companies say everything found by their clients is reported to PAS and may end up in a museum. But their customers are fresh off the plane from a culture where, apart from on Federal land, you really can help yourself and keep it. How many American detectorists can be trusted to divest themselves of their life-long conviction that a government taking a man’s property away from him is an unacceptable and despicable feature of European socialism? Should our customs officers be alert?

So you’ve been on a £2,000 history holiday have you sir? Anything to declare?

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting