Nighthawkers took coins from historic South Yorkshire abbey

Nighthawkers who dug up coins at a historic site in South Yorkshire have been handed heavy fines.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 2:51 pm

Three people admitted using metal detectors to find the coins, which they took from the ruins of Roche Abbey, in Maltby, Rotherham.

They were part of a group of five men convicted of nighthawking at the abbey and at Beeston Castle, in Cheshire, during December 2019.

Between them, the quintet were fined more than £4,000 and ordered to forfeit all the items they had taken, along with their metal detectors.

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The five men admitted taking items from Roche Abbey and/or Beeston Castle

They were also all handed a five-year criminal behaviour order which prevents them from metal detecting at any English Heritage site in England and Wales.

Historic England, which looks after both sites, said the overwhelming majority of metal detectorists comply with the legislation and codes of practice.

But Win Scutt, the organisation’s properties curator, said: “Illegal metal detecting robs us of our past, and whilst this prosecution is good news, sadly the damage incidents like these cause can never be repaired.”

A joint investigation was launched by Cheshire Police, Historic England and South Yorkshire Police after holes were found in the grounds of the ancient monuments, and the men appeared for sentencing at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Friday, May 7.

Curtis Barlow, 32, of The Quadrant, Droylsden, admitted taking coins and metal artefacts from Roche Abbey. He was handed a £572 fine along with £85 surcharge.

Gary Flanagan, 33, of Winton Avenue, Audenshaw, admitted taking coins and metal artefacts from Beeston Castle and Roche Abbey. He was handed £1,100 fine plus a £85 surcharge.

Daniel James Lloyd, 33, of Beech Avenue, Droylsden, admitted taking bronze age axe head’s, coins and other metal artefacts from Beeston Castle. He handed £600 fine plus a £85 surcharge.

John Andrew Lorne, 29, of Sunnyside Road, Droylsden, admitted taking bronze age axe head’s, coins and other metal artefacts from Beeston Castle, and removing coins and metal artefacts from Roche Abbey between 28 and 30 December 2019. He was ordered to pay £1,760 plus a £85 surcharge.

Francis James Ward, 32, of Dingle Drive, Droylsden, admitted taking an bronze age axe head’s, coins and other metal artefacts from Beeston Castle. He also admitted producing a small quantity of cannabis. He ordered to pay £1,430 court costs plus a £85 surcharge.