Chadwell Heath woman fined after not reporting Iron Age coin find
Michael Cox and Sam Russell, PA
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
A Chadwell Heath woman and her partner have been sentenced after failing to report the discovery of gold Iron Age coins.
Kim Holman, 61, of East Road, was ordered to pay £299 at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Friday (April 30) after admitting a charge of finding an object believed to be treasure and failing to notify the coroner.
Her partner Shane Wood, 62, found 933 gold stater coins, dating back 2,000 years, during a walk in Great Baddow, Essex, last September.
Ashley Petchey, prosecuting, told the court that the hoard was “likely to be if not the largest, then the second-largest such find in Britain”.
Wood, of West Hanningfield Road, Great Baddow, recovered the hoard over several days through illegal metal-detecting, Essex Police said.
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Mr Petchey said Wood handed most of the coins over to the landowner, but kept 23 for himself, which were estimated to be worth between £9,850 and £12,350.
Police searched his home and found the missing coins. Meanwhile, one coin held back by Holman was valued at £300.
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Wood admitted the theft of the 23 coins and failing to notify the coroner of the find of the 933 gold staters.
Simon Nicholls, mitigating for Wood, told the court Wood's hobbies included "in a very amateur way, metal detecting".
He added: “He had no idea what they were worth but he just thought, given the fact he’d handed over hundreds to the landowner, he would keep some as a memento.
“What (Wood) didn’t appreciate is that as the finder of the items on the land, the obligation is to notify the coroner himself within a prescribed time.
“He didn’t know that he had to do that.”
Wood was sentenced to an 18-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 to the court.
It also ordered his metal detector be forfeited and destroyed.
Holman pleaded guilty to failing to tell the coroner of the discovery of one Iron Age gold stater.
Presiding magistrate Ian Fuller fined Holman £160 and ordered her to pay a further £139 in costs and a victim surcharge.
He said her actions were “foolish” but added: “We don’t see yourself as being a detectorist so we don’t see you should necessarily have been aware of the law in the matter.”
PC Andrew Long, rural and heritage crime officer, said: “This prosecution demonstrates that we take heritage crime seriously. This type of offence not only steals from the landowner, but also from the nation by stealing our history."