Treasure hunters warned off Hadrian's Wall after illegal metal detecting as police arrest man on suspicion of theft

People have been warned from metal detecting along the Hadrian’s Wall footpath after police arrested a man on suspicion of theft.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 6:54 pm
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 6:54 pm

Officers from Northumbria Police are working alongside Historic England and Northumberland National Park after an increase in reports of illegal metal detecting resulted in a number of thefts close to the Military Road, north of Horsley.

The report, which came in from one of Northumbria Police’s Rural Volunteers, was received at 11am on Sunday, July 12, and detailed a suspicious vehicle in the area.

Officers attended and arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of theft after information was passed on by one of the volunteers.

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People have been urged to stay away from the Hadrian's Wall pathway with their metal detectors.

He has since been released under investigation.

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Sergeant Ian Pattison said: “We urge the public to report suspicious findings to us and take down as much information as possible such as vehicle registrations, descriptions and take any photos or videos if safe to do so.

“Metal detecting on protected land is a crime and those found to be exploiting this will see a firm and swift police response.”

Northumbria Police's officers are working alongside Historic England and Northumberland National Park to investigate reports of illegal metal detecting after they resulted in a number of thefts close to the Military Road.

Don O’Meara, Historic England inspector of ancient monuments, said: “The theft of archaeological material poses one of the biggest threats to our shared heritage.

"As well as damaging protected archaeological monuments and being theft from the landowner, it robs us all of the understanding of our past that these finds could bring.

“Heritage crime forms part of the spectrum of rural crime and we will continue to work in partnership with Northumbria police to prevent and investigate this form of criminal activity.”

Tony Gates, chief executive of the Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We welcome this action by the police and applaud this quick thinking by the volunteer.

“Northumberland National Park officers and volunteers work tirelessly with our partners to conserve the rich historic environment of the National Park on behalf of the nation.

"Illegal metal detecting is not a victimless crime, it is theft from the landowner but also steals from the nation as the artefacts removed form a unique and valuable part of our heritage.”

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