UK News: Metal detector thieves dug up and stole £3million of Viking buried treasure - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Metal detector thieves dug up and stole £3million of Viking buried treasure

19:40  21 november  2019
19:40  21 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Two metal detectorists convicted of stealing £3m of Viking coins

  Two metal detectorists convicted of stealing £3m of Viking coins Two metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a £3m hoard of Viking coins and jewellery - much of which is still missing. George Powell and Layton Davies were found guilty at Worcester Crown Court after failing to declare the "invaluable" collection of buried treasure, which dated back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great, then conspiring to sell it on. Prosecutors said the items, typical of a Viking hoard burial from the Anglo-Saxon period, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland in June 2015.

a person posing for the camera: George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, stole a hoard of ancient gold coins and priceless jewellery © SWNS George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, stole a hoard of ancient gold coins and priceless jewellery

Two metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a £3million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery - much of which is still missing.

George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an "invaluable" collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

Among the priceless hoard was 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 dating to the reign of King Alfred.

Metal detectorists convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and jewellery

  Metal detectorists convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and jewellery Two metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery - much of which is still missing. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an "invaluable" collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great.Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

a man looking at the camera: George Powell dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire © SWNS George Powell dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire

Only 31 of the coins have been recovered, although mobile phone photographs - later deleted, but recovered by police - showed the larger hoard, still intact, in a freshly dug hole.

Powell and Davies were also convicted alongside two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, with conspiring to conceal the find.

Davies, who chose to give evidence in his defence, claimed the pair dug the jewellery out of two separate holes but photographs taken on his phone and later deleted clearly showed the trove as one.

a close up of a mans face with green eyes: Layton Davies did not declare the 1,100-year-old find and instead sold it to dealers © SWNS Layton Davies did not declare the 1,100-year-old find and instead sold it to dealers

He also alleged Powell had then planted some coins, which he already owned, in the hole for "staged" photographs, to give the items greater provenance and value.

Metal detectorists convicted for stealing £3 million of Viking coins that 'rewrite history'

  Metal detectorists convicted for stealing £3 million of Viking coins that 'rewrite history' All four men were convicted of ignoring the law stating such finds must be properly declared, in order to sell the items in batchesGeorge Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an "invaluable" collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great.

One of the images appeared to show many more silver ingots than the one recovered by police but the men claimed these were simply bullet casings.

Both men also claimed talk of a 300-coin hoard had been a rumour, insisting that the only coins they found were declared to the National Museum Wales, in Cardiff, at a meeting on July 8.

However, they were undone by evidence including deleted photos of a much larger hoard on Davies's phone and the recovery of various coins, including five concealed in a magnifying glass case and volunteered to police by Wells.

a close up of a coffee cup: An ornate gold ring that was part of the Viking hoard © SWNS An ornate gold ring that was part of the Viking hoard

Wicks, Powell and Davies were also found guilty of converting their ill-gotten gains into cash, after police traced several coins that had been sold on to private collectors, hidden away or left with expert valuers.

All four men were convicted of ignoring the law stating such finds must be properly declared, in a bid to sell the items in small batches.

Two convicted of stealing viking coins in Herefordshire.

  Two convicted of stealing viking coins in Herefordshire. It was valued at £3 million.

Five of the coins are examples of the exceptionally rare Two Emperors penny, valued at up to £50,000 apiece, and so-called as they depict King Alfred and a lesser known monarch, Ceolwulf II, who reigned in the old kingdom of Mercia, sitting together.

Some of the ancient treasure that was dug up by George Powell and Layton Davies © SWNS Some of the ancient treasure that was dug up by George Powell and Layton Davies

Expert analysis of all the jewellery and coinage recovered to date and now held at the British Museum returned a valuation of at least £581,000.

As to the fate of the rest of the coins and items in the hoard, prosecuting barrister Kevin Hegarty QC told jurors: "They have not been found.

a display of chain: A rock crystal pendant chased in gold, dating from the fifth century which was part of a £3 million Viking hoard © PA A rock crystal pendant chased in gold, dating from the fifth century which was part of a £3 million Viking hoard

"They must be concealed in one or more places or by now having been concealed have been dispersed never to be reassembled as a hoard of such coinage again."

Powell, of Kirby Lane, Newport; Davies, of Cardiff Road, Pontypridd; Wells, of Newport Road, Cardiff, and Wicks, of Hawks Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, will be sentenced at a later date.

a man looking at the camera: Simon Wicks, 57, was found guilty of conspiring to conceal the find © SWNS Simon Wicks, 57, was found guilty of conspiring to conceal the find a close up of a persons face: Paul Wells was convicted on a concealment charge © SWNS Paul Wells was convicted on a concealment charge

Mind-boggling mischief: The world's weirdest heists .
There have been some incredibly ambitious heists around the world, stealing things one might expect like jewels, paintings, and cold hard cash.

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