Grays man set to face charges of Nighthawking

A GRAYS man is due to appear in court later this week accused of stealing a £15,000 coin in Cambridgeshire and a gold Roman coin in Norfolk through Nighthawking.

Nighthawking is illegal metal-detecting on archaeological sites, or other areas of archaeological interest, and private land in order to recover treasure or other items of value. It is performed where permission to survey and dig has been refused or never sought.

Essex Police takes a lead in England and Wales on Nighhawking and have been gathering intelligence on various national targets. In April 2013, officers were contacted by the British Museum who reported a suspected case of someone failing to declare treasure under the Treasure Act.

The following month (May), officers executed a search warrant at a house in Grays under and seized two coins.

In August 2009, a gold Roman coin from the period of the Emperor Valentinian, valued at £200, was stolen in Castle Acre in Norfolk.

In October 2009, a Carolingian Gold Solidus coin of Louis the Pious, valued at £15,000, was stolen in Meldreth in Cambridgeshire.

Following several months of liaison with English Heritage, a 51-year-old man from Grays was interviewed by officers in June 2013 and he has now been summonsed to appear at Basildon Magistrates Court on Thursday, February 20 to face two charges of theft.

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