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Four metal detectorists on trial over £3million stolen coins

"Candace Thompkins" (2020-01-30)

Four metal detectorists are on trial after failing to declare £3million in Anglo Saxon coins and jewellery they found in a field and allegedly selling it on the black market instead.

\uc18c\uc561\uacb0\uc81c \ud604\uae08\ud654 - \ud734\ub300\ud3f0 \uc18c\uc561\uacb0\uc81c \ud6c4 \ud604\uae08\ud654\ud558\ub294 \ubc29\ubc95 | \uc628\uce90\uc2dc ...George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, 소액결제정책 found at least 300 coins, a gold ring, a bracelet, a ninth century silver ingot and a fifth century crystal ball pendant when they were out with their metal detectors in Herefordshire in June 2015. 

They discovered the treasure underground near Eye Court Farm near Leominster.

The prosecution claim instead of declaring the haul, as the law requires, they conspired with Paul Wells, 60, and Simon Wicks, 57, to sell the goods for a profit. 

All four went on trial today accused of conspiring to conceal treasure at Worcester Crown Court. 

 Four metal detectorists are on trial after failing to declare £3million in Anglo Saxon coins and jewellery they found in a field and allegedly selling it on the black market instead (Simon Wicks is pictured above)



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Share The court was told some of the treasure originates from the time of Alfred the Great.  

Jurors heard all four men were aware of the law that states buried treasure must be declared, but chose to ignore it and proceeded to sell the items in small batches to a number of customers.

Opening the prosecution's case, Kevin Hegarty QC said: 'This case you are to hear in two words is about buried treasure.

'Over 1,100 years ago, before the Norman Conquest, jewellery, coins and ingots were concealed in the ground neat Eye Court Farm near Leominster, Herefordshire.

The prosecution claim instead of declaring the haul, as the law requires, Davies and George Powell conspired with Paul Wells, 60 (pictured outside court today), and Simon Wicks, 57, to sell the goods for a profit

'They remained there undisturbed for many hundreds of years until June 2015.

'Powell and Davies were out with their metal detectors on farmland at Eye Court Farm.

'They were both experienced at metal detecting, and they found jewellery, coins and ingots. And they knew when they found them that this was no ordinary find.

'They soon learned it was not simply treasure but a hoard of very valuable coins.

'Such a quantity of coins of this kind would attract collectors from all over the world.

'They decided to treat the find as theirs and not to declare it to the landowner, the tenant farmer and the coroner. In short, they stole it.

'The hoard included a ring which has been looked at by a very eminent specialist from the British Museum who can tell us this is a ring from the ninth century. So a very ancient ring.

'There was also a crystal ball with some very fancy goldwork strips around it. It would have been worn as a pendant. This is from the fifth to sixth century.

'There was a large bracelet, the sort of thing that would have been worn on the upper arm.

'This is something which would have been made in the ninth century. There was a silver ingot, often used for melting down. It dates from the ninth century.

'You will see images of 30 coins but it's the prosecution's case there were many more coins recovered by Powell and Davies, and all we have is a fraction of what was gathered together 1,100 years ago.

'On some of the coins you can see a lozenge shape sitting within a cross. This is known as a cross and lozenge.

'The size of each coin is that of a one penny piece. Another type of coin has what looks like two heads. This is known as a two emperor. Two emperors are of great value.

'There is also a Louis the Pious coin, a very ancient coin from Iran and a silver penny.

Another of the accused is pictured on his way into Worcester Crown Court today 

'The coins came from two separate areas of England. Some are from the time of King Alfred who at that stage was the King of Wessex.

'Others are from a king you may not have heard of - Ceolwulf.

'At the time Davies and Powell were digging in the ground at Eye Court Farm, they took some pictures and its those pictures that were subsequently recovered and show there were far more than 30 coins in the ground.

'It's estimated there are something like 300 coins. Powell and Davies did not tell the farmers but they did tell Wells, who had an interest in such items.'

Mr Hegarty said Powell, Davies and Wells took the items to an antiques dealer and conducted their own internet research to establish the value of the items.

George Powell, who also found the coins, is pictured from behind outside Worcester Crown Court today 

Emails show they were aware of the Treasure Act, which states they must declare buried treasure, but Mr Hegarty said they did not do so.

The court heard Powell and Davies together with Wicks went about selling the items to a variety of individuals and organisations, including more than 20 coins to auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.

Around 30 coins plus the jewellery have been recovered by police from the various people the defendants sold to as well as from their home addresses.

Wicks had even hidden some of the coins within the handle of a magnifying glass, jurors were told.

But Mr Hegarty said the rest of the hoard could still be at large and may never be brought back together again.

He added: 'If there were 300 coins, including five two emperors and all the rest were cross and lozenge, the value would be £3 million.

'The items of jewellery you may think invaluable due to their rarity.'

The court heard Powell and Davies were arrested and questioned in August 2015 and then again in June 2016.

Wells was arrested on September 10, 2015, while Wicks was arrested in November 2015.

Powell, of Newport, Wales, and Davies, of Pontypridd, Wales, have pleaded not guilty to theft.

Powell, Davies, Wells, of Rumney, Cardiff, and Wicks, of Hailsham, East Sussex, deny conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Powell, Davies and Wicks deny conspiracy to convert criminal property - namely by selling it.

The trial, which is due to last a month, will resume tomorrow.