Couple sentenced over ancient treasure discovery in Great Baddow

A couple have been sentenced for offences under the Treasure Act of 1996.

The pair, who failed to declare finding an Iron-Age hoard of 933 gold Stater coins, were sentenced today, Friday April 30, at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.

Shane Wood found the 2,000-year-old coins whilst out for a walk in Great Baddow in September last year, and recovered the hoard over several days through illegal metal-detecting.

Both he and his partner, Kim Holman, failed to notify the Coroner’s Court of the find and kept some coins for themselves.

Wood handed the coins over to the landowner on September 30, who, in turn, handed them to the correct authorities.

Officers became aware that some coins were not included in the handover after 62-year-old Wood, of West Hanningfield Road, gave an account of his finding in a magazine.

The missing 23 coins were located at Wood’s home and were deemed to be worth up to £12,350.

A coin held back by 61-year-old Holman, of East Road in Chadwell Heath, was valued at £300.

The pair both pleaded guilty after being summonsed to answer a charge of finding an object believed to be treasure and failing to notify the coroner. Wood also pleaded guilty to theft by finding.

Wood was sentenced to a 18-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and was fined £200.

The court ordered his metal detector to be forfeited and destroyed.

Holman was fined £299 for her part in the crime.

Police Constable Andrew Long, Essex Police’s Rural and Heritage Crime Officer, said: “This prosecution demonstrates that we take heritage crime seriously. This type of offence not only steals from the landowner, but also from the nation by stealing our history.

“We know most metal detectorists are law-abiding and we appreciate their support in prosecuting the tiny minority of criminals in the hobby.

“I would like to thank the hard work of our partners in The British Museum, the Crown Prosecution Service and Historic England for their help with this case.”

Mick Ferris

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