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Two metal detectorists were convicted in the UK for stealing a treasure

George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, two metal detectorists in the UK failed to declare they had unearthed treasures dating back 1,100 years.

The two men were convicted of stealing a hoard of Viking coins and jewellery potentially worth £3m, a collection dating to King Alfred the Great’s reign. That means a ninth-century gold ring, a dragon’s head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins, some from the reign of King Alfred. Five of the coins are examples of the exceptionally rare Two Emperors penny, valued at up to £50,000 apiece. By law, the experienced detectorists should have reported their rare discovery but instead decided to sell the items in small batches on the black market.

piece-of-the-treasure
A piece of the treasure

Only 31 coins and some jewellery have been recovered. Prosecuting barrister Kevin Hegarty QC told jurors the remainder of the hoard had not been located. Police traced some to collectors and valuers. In court both Powell and Davies claimed that talk of a 300-coin hoard had been merely a rumour, insisting that the only coins they had found were declared to the National Museum Wales, in Cardiff, at a meeting on 8 July. The jewellery and coins recovered to date are now held by the British Museum.

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