Metal detector, 30, arrested ‘for digging up buried treasure in Stonehenge and possessing explosives’
- The unnamed man, aged 30, arrested at his home in Bradford, West Yorkshire
- He boasted about his finds online at an ancient site, according to Wiltshire Police
- It’s not clear if the explosives had anything to do with the man’s treasure hunt
A metal detectorist has been arrested after bragging on social media about digging up buried treasure at Stonehenge – before being allegedly found in possession of explosives.
Wiltshire police said the unnamed man, 30, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was ambushed after he couldn’t help but brag about his “finds and location”.
He was detained suspected of damaging the 5,000-year-old stone circle, an officially protected World Heritage Site, as well as for illegally use a metal detector and possess explosives without a permit.
It’s not clear whether the explosives were part of his treasure-hunting antics at the Salisbury Plain site or whether he had them for other purposes.
The incidents allegedly took place between August and September, Wiltshire police said.
He has since been released under investigation.
What exactly his “finds” consisted of has not been disclosed, but he is believed to have posted photos of them on social media – leading to a tip from the police.
Wiltshire police said the unnamed man, 30, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, had been entangled after he couldn’t help but brag about his ‘finds and location’ of Stonehenge (pictured)
The four offenses include damaging a protected monument, using a metal detector in a protected site without permission, removing an archaeological or historical interest without permission, and possessing explosives without a permit.
West Yorkshire Police also warned the man about possession of Class B drugs.
PC Emily Thomas, Heritage Crime Officer with 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 kind of visitors who are out for personal gain and ignore the law.
“Our heritage is protected by specific offenses to prevent the damage caused by unauthorized alteration and thereby diminish the enjoyment of heritage for others.
“On this occasion, the suspect was identified when posting his finds and 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 the Devon and Cornwall Police.
He was handcuffed on suspicion of damaging the 5,000-year-old stone circle, an officially protected World Heritage Site, as well as illegally using a metal detector (photo, 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 being so well looked after by the North Devon Council and an active group of enthusiastic volunteers.
“There has been so much positive community activity on the site lately and it is a great shame to see illegal harm caused by a person’s ill-considered actions.
“Metal detectorists like this can remove scant evidence of dating and occupation of these sites, knowledge that should be preserved for all to see.
‘Their excavation often destroys old sites and cuts through archaeological layers that must be preserved for the future.
“The holes they leave could lead to erosion, although in this case the North Devon Council can quickly restore the site.”