NPT update April 2013


A jewellery box containing various jewellery items was stolen from the house in Manor Fields.  Enquiries are ongoing.

Two  males have caused damage to the skate park, by ripping 6 or 7 wooden panels off the end of a new skate ramp, and one has also written a profanity on the gravel.  Enquiries are ongoing.

Bratton Camp & Westbury White Horse

Unknown suspects have dug holes in an attempt to extract artifacts. They have then discarded unwanted items and filled the holes with soil.

This is commonly known as Night Hawking.  It is an offence to remove items that are of historical interest.

The Law about Nighthawking

Illegal metal detecting is the search and removal of antiquities from the ground using metal detectors without the permission of the landowners or on prohibited land such as Scheduled Monuments. It is a form of theft and can be prosecuted under the Theft Act.

The heart of the problem lies in the vicious circle of under-reporting of the crime, which in turn creates a false picture of the seriousness of the situation, making this a low priority crime for the police. It is also compounded by the difficulty in collecting evidence.

Nighthawkers are considered to be separate from law-abiding metal detectorists, as they do not follow the codes of practice laid out by such hobbyist groups as the Federation of Independent Detectorists. The Treasure Act 1996 requires all finds that are legally defined as treasure to be declared to a local coroner or the police within 14 days. Nighthawkers rarely declare their finds due to the method of acquisition. Breach of this law can result in a £5,000 fine, a term of imprisonment up to three months or both.  In Britain, ownership of finds on private lands, unless declared treasure, rests with the land owners. As many nighthawkers take finds to sell on to private dealers, this counts as theft under British Law.