Heritage crime a new focus for Wiltshire Police

Heritage crime a new focus for Wiltshire Police

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 12:52pm 17th July 2019.

3 minute read

Our local force is launching a new operation to protect our assets in the county.

A Wiltshire Police spokesperson said:

"Heritage Crime is any offence that harms heritage assets and their settings. The damage caused to heritage sites can be very costly to repair.

"The loss of historical artefacts can stop future generations from being able to enjoy them, and can have an impact on tourism and the livelihoods of those who depend on them for an income."

Operation Apollo will focus on:


Offering the best crime prevention advice to landowners, asset owners and management organisations including steps they can take to help prevent thefts, anti-social behaviour, illegal metal detecting, criminal damage and illegal off roading.

Salisbury Cathedral Magna Carta Damage October 2018
The Magna Carta in Salisbury Cathedral was targeted in 2018


Improving the intelligence picture around heritage crimes by encouraging people to report all incidents, however small, to the police.


With good intelligence the police can target potential offenders through rural operations.


By working together with the public and taking a proactive approaching to tackling heritage crime we can hopefully reassure our rural communities by publicising action taken and results such as activity, arrests, seizures and convictions.

Salisbury Cathedral - October 2017 (Mike Draper) (1)
Salisbury Cathedral is a listed building

Police are now asking people to report any and all incidents of heritage crime to the police, using the phrase 'Operation Apollo'.

If the public don't report incidents to them, they don't get an accurate representation of the issue and are unable to allocate resources appropriately.


  • Listed buildings - like Salisbury Cathedral
  • Conservation areas
  • Scheduled monuments
  • World Heritage sites - like Stonehenge
  • Registered parks and gardens

Types of heritage crime include, Nighthawking (illegal metal detecting), treasure offences, criminal damage or arson, fly tipping and theft.

Rural Crime Officer PC Emily Thomas said:

"Wiltshire is a predominantly rural county and therefore we are required to deal with some specific crime types that don't affect urban areas. Heritage crime is an excellent example of such a crime type.

"Operation Apollo will help us protect the wonderful history left by our ancestors in the many listed buildings and heritage sites around the county.

"We hope the public will help by acting as our eyes and ears and report all suspicious behaviour to the police by calling 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress."

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