English Heritage calls for an end to illegal metal detecting at historic sites

English Heritage calls for an end to illegal ‘nighthawking’ as metal detectorists pillage historic sites such as the Battle of Hastings battlefield

Conservation charity accused the activity of ‘robbing us of our past’ Says illegal nighthawking doubled in 2019 when compared to 2017 

Sits targeted include the Battle of Hastings battlefield and Goodrich Castle

Some of Britain’s most historic sites, including the location of the Battle of Hastings, are being targeted by illegal metal detectorists. 

This so-called ‘nighthawking’ is becoming an increasing problem for conservationists trying to preserve some of the country’s most precious sites. 

Other affected sites include Goodrich Castle, Old Sarum and Battle Abbey.

English Heritage is now calling for members of the public to report suspicious activity to the police to catch criminals ‘robbing us of our past’.

Scroll down for video 

Some of Britain’s most historic sites, including the location of the Battle of Hastings (pictured), are being targeted by illegal metal detectorists

Pictured, Battle Abbey, one of several sites targeted by illegal metal detectors, also known as nighthawks, as English Heritage has called for the public to be vigilant after an increase in incidents

Pictured, Battle Abbey, one of several sites targeted by illegal metal detectors, also known as nighthawks, as English Heritage has called for the public to be vigilant after an increase in incidents

The battlefield used in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is among the locations, including medieval castles and Roman forts, which have been targeted by illegal detecting.

The conservation charity said that December was the worst month for reported incidents in more than four years.

It also claims the number of metal detecting activity on historical sites has doubled in 2019 compared to 2017.

Chief executive Kate Mavor said the charity was already working with police but needed the public’s help to report any suspicious activity.

‘Illegal metal detecting robs us of our past,’ she said.

‘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.’

This so-called 'nighthawking' is becoming an increasing problem for conservationists trying to preserve some of the country's most precious sites. Some affected sites include Goodrich Castle, Old Sarum (pictured) and Battle Abbey

This so-called ‘nighthawking’ is becoming an increasing problem for conservationists trying to preserve some of the country’s most precious sites. Some affected sites include Goodrich Castle, Old Sarum (pictured) and Battle Abbey

Goodrich Castle is one of the affected sites targeted by illegal metal dectectorists. English Heritage said that December was the worst month for reported incidents in more than four years. It also claims the number of metal detecting activity on historical sites has doubled in 2019 compared to 2017

Goodrich Castle is one of the affected sites targeted by illegal metal dectectorists. English Heritage said that December was the worst month for reported incidents in more than four years. It also claims the number of metal detecting activity on historical sites has doubled in 2019 compared to 2017

Next Page