Archaeologists from Historic England have found evidence of damage being caused by illegal metal detectorists in the scheduled, protected area around the remains of the Roman town of Corbridge, which forms part of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.
The holes left by the offenders, known as nighthawks, were discovered by staff 50 metres to the south of the site and objects have been stolen.
Mike Collins, inspector of ancient monuments for Hadrian’s Wall at Historic England in the North East, said: “Corbridge Roman town has been targeted repeatedly over the years by nighthawks. We are working with colleagues from English Heritage and Northumbria Police to combat the theft of historic objects and artefacts from the site.
“Nighthawking is a serious offence that robs us all of the information and understanding of our past that the Roman town at Corbridge can give.”
The Roman town of Corbridge is a scheduled monument, which means that it is protected by law against ground disturbance or unlicensed metal detecting.
Written consent from Historic England must be obtained before metal detecting on a scheduled monument can begin.
Mark Harrison, head of heritage crime and policing for Historic England, said: “The value of England’s heritage can’t be judged in pounds and pence.
“The impact of theft on our historic sites and buildings has far-reaching consequences over and above the cost of what has been stolen.”
If anyone has information about this illegal activity, call the police, quoting 114708W/17.