Wednesday 30 April 2014Its early on a Sunday morning, a quick glance out the window shows its a sunny day, dry, no wind, a perfect day for a raid. You load up your car with all the tools you need to carry out this raid. Your metal detector is your main source of carrying out this theft along with your spade. You buckle on your finds pouch which now becomes your swagbag. Don't forget your gloves, you don't want to be leaving fingerprints on styles and gates. Just before you leave you kiss your wife/girlfriend/partner/cat goodbye and tell them you will be back later with the loot.
Arriving at the field all is quiet, not a soul about, perfect. While detecting away your in your own little world, dreaming of any riches you may uncover, when all of a sudden you hear a motor noise. You then realize its the farmer. YIKES!!!!....Do you run and hide behind the nearest hedge, crouch down out of sight in a hole so as not to be discovered. Nope, you give a friendly wave to him and he waves back. Maybe he drives over for a friendly chat and asks you if you have found anything. "Not yet" you reply, "But I'm hopeful". Does the farmer then do 80 miles an hour on his tractor back to the farm house to phone the police. No, of course not, because he has given you permission to be there.
According to a couple of sites I've been reading we are all thieves by taking what we find home with us. Treasure items most of us know must be reported, those that don't know within a very short time they soon find out. The treasure laws are everywhere and can't be missed. Here I am talking about all the odd coins, buckles, buttons, musket balls, pieces of rusted iron, pull tabs, silver foil, anything at all that's found. On one site a farmer tried to class it the same as walking into Tescos, and walking out with some bacon without paying for it lol. Yes I know, we must have laws, and theft laws are important, but how can you class what we do where we have permission from the farmer to hunt on his land. Nighthawking is different, that's breaking the law.
The law regarding all finds are the landowners might exist, but its unworkable. Whats all the fuss about anyway. Those couple of sites are ranting and raving about how much detectorists are stealing from farmers, but they don't mention how many farmers profit from what we do. Take just myself and I know other detectorists do it, I pay to detect. I pay the farmer on the site I go to £10 for the day, as I go at least once a month, maybe twice, but at once a month nets the farmer £120 in a year from me, my detecting buddy also comes along, its his permission, and he pays £10 a day. So farmer gets at least £240 from us both. Tally up if we sold what we find and its us that comes out the losers. Just look at the amount of treasure finds that are made, the farmer gets half of the total amount and some farmers have done really well out of it. Why shouldn't we as detectorists get the other half, we invested in the equipment and put the time in. Okay, by law its the farmers property, but its stuff he never even knew he had, never even knew existed, even stuff he most likely never lost in the first place.
Plus, and this is the big plus, look at the history we uncover, since the hobby of metal detecting started the history of our country has gone through the roof. new discoveries are being made on a weekly basis, isn't that what us and the general public want, always adding to our heritage. Also a lot of charities have benefited because of our hobby.
So what's the answer, gawd knows as I'm just a simpleton as these couple of sites make me out to be. If all the farmers are like the farmers I have met in my detecting which have been brilliant, then I can't see what all the fuss is about other than some bodies trying to get detecting banned. and stressing out about minute details. To those people I say get your head back into the real world. Far far more worse things going on in the world. My opinion is let it be, nobody really gets harmed, nothing is broke regarding the PAS and FLO as they are set up to govern what's important and we should be proud to have such bodies in our country.