A metal detectorist has been arrested after bragging on social media about digging up buried treasure at Stonehenge – before allegedly being found in possession of explosives.
Wiltshire Police said the unnamed man, 30, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was snared after he could not resist boasting about his ‘finds and the location’.
He was held on suspicion of damaging the 5,000-year-old stone circle, an officially protected World Heritage Site, as well as for illegally using a metal detector there and possessing explosives without a permit.
It’s not clear whether the explosives formed part of his treasure-hunting antics at the site on Salisbury Plain or if he had them for other purposes.
The offences allegedly happened between August and September, Wiltshire Police said.
He has since been released under investigation.
Precisely what his ‘finds’ consisted of has not been revealed but it’s thought he posted photos of them on social media – leading to a police tip off.
Wiltshire Police said the unnamed man, 30, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was snared after he could not resist boasting about his ‘finds and the location’ of Stonehenge (pictured)
The four offences include damaging a protected monument, using a metal detector in a protected place without consent, removing an archaeological or historical interest without consent and possession of explosives without a permit.
West Yorkshire Police also cautioned the man for possession of Class B drugs.
PC Emily Thomas, heritage crime officer in the Wiltshire Rural Crime Team, said: ‘We are fortunate to live in a beautiful county with many heritage sites.
‘Unfortunately, these sites occasionally attract the wrong sorts of visitors who are intent on personal gain and disregard the law.
‘Our heritage assets are protected by specific criminal offences to prevent the damage caused by unlicensed alteration and thereby diminish the enjoyment of heritage sites for others.
‘On this occasion the suspect was identified when posting his finds and the location on social media.’
The extent of the damage he caused has not been disclosed.
It comes after damage from illegal treasure hunters was recently found at an Iron Age monument near Ilfracombe on the North Devon coast.
It was reported as a crime to Historic England and Devon and Cornwall Police.
He was cuffed on suspicion of damaging the 5,000-year-old stone circle, an officially protected World Heritage Site, as well as for illegally using a metal detector (pictured, file photo) there and possessing explosives without a permit
Charlotte Russell, Heritage at Risk Projects Officer for Historic England, said: ‘We are saddened to see this attack on the monument which is so well cared for by North Devon Council and an active group of keen volunteers.
‘There has been so much positive community activity on the site recently and it is a great shame to see illegal damage caused by the thoughtless acts of an individual.
‘Metal detectorists of this kind can remove scarce evidence for the dates and occupation of these sites, knowledge that should be preserved for everyone.
‘Their digging often destroys ancient sites, cutting through archaeological layers that should be preserved for the future.
‘The holes they leave behind can lead to erosion, although in this case North Devon Council will be able to promptly repair the site.’
Source: Daily Mail UK