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Crackdown on illegal metal detecting

Police and archaeologists in Norfolk, UK, have teamed up to crackdown on illegal metal detecting.

Norfolk has the highest number of recovered artefacts in the country declared treasure and a successful long-established working relationship with legitimate metal- detecting enthusiasts.

There were 109 cases of items found in Norfolk being declared treasure in 2008-09. Recent finds include a hoard of 24 Henry III short-cross pennies in Breckland, and an early Saxon gold spangle from south Norfolk.

But illegal metal detecting, known as “night-hawking”, is a big problem and Norfolk Archaeology Unit (NAU) is to prepare a briefing note for police safer neighbourhood teams outlining some of the worst affected areas.

Former Roman sites, such as Caistor St Edmund, are believed to be a particular target for night-hawkers, as well as the area around Snettisham in west Norfolk.

But night-hawking is a county-wide problem and has raised fears among archaeologists and legitimate metal- detecting groups that valuable artefacts are being lost – or sold online for profit.

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