Back in May this year a haul of Viking coins estimated to be worth at least £500,000 and “of major historical significance” were recovered by Durham police.
The coins along with a silver ingot were seized from properties in County Durham and Lancashire.
Durham Police arrested a number of people on suspicion of dealing in culturally tainted objects.
The haul contains coins of Alfred the Great of Wessex and his less well-known contemporary Ceolwulf II of Mercia.
It is believed that one of the main people involved in this illegal activity is a well known and well respected detectorist and his identity, which is not being released at the moment will no doubt come as quite a shock to many.
It is also known that police found a large number of contacts on this person’s mobile phone many of whom are detectorists and they have been following up on each contact to eliminate them…or otherwise from the investigation.
It cannot be stressed enough how much damage this sort of illegal detecting does not only to our countries heritage but also to the good name of responsible detectorists up and down the country. Permissions are hard enough to obtain as it is and things like this just make it so much harder.
Talking about the haul Dr Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coins and Viking collections at the British Museum, described it as a “nationally important hoard”.
He said: “The coins I have seen so far add significantly to our understanding of the political history of England in the AD 870s.
“This is the period in which Alfred the Great was fighting the Vikings, but which also led to the creation of a unified kingdom of England under Alfred and his successors.”
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