'Nighthawking' on the rise at Old Sarum Castle

'Nighthawking' on the rise at Old Sarum Castle

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 10:03am 28th February 2020.

2 minute read

English Heritage is warning that illegal metal detecting is causing them huge problems.

The charity's calling on people who visit Old Sarum and spot this kind of activity to get in touch with them or police to protect the historical site.

English Heritage (EH) say there's been 'multiple incidents' there.

Evidence of nighthawking at Old Sarum, Jan 2020 - © English Heritage
Pictures taken by English Heritage show the damage that's been caused at Old Sarum

'Nighthawking' is an issue across the country, with EH reporting that December 2019 was the worst month for cases in more than four years.

Twice as many incidents were recorded throughout last year compared to 2017.

Evidence of nighthawking at Old Sarum, Jan 2020 - © English Heritage.jpg
You can see holes in the ground where 'nighthawkers' have tried to find items at Old Sarum

Chief Executive Kate Mavor said:

"Illegal metal detecting robs us of our past. Once items are spirited away they can never be replaced, and the evidence of those who went before us is lost forever.

"We are working closely with Historic England and local police services to combat this form of heritage crime. We are now asking the wider community to act as our 'eyes and ears' and to report any suspicious activity on or near English Heritage sites to the police."

Old Sarum - General View - © English Heritage
Old Sarum is popular spot for walkers and history fans

Wiltshire Police has been making so-called heritage crime one of their priorities since last summer. 

The county's Rural Crime Team said they wanted to 'protect assets for future generations'.

Mark Harrison, head of crime strategy at Historic England, said: 

"Illegal metal detecting is not a victimless crime. We may never see or fully understand the objects taken or damaged because they have been removed from their original sites with no care or record as to their history or context."

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