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Metal detectorist discovers £5,500 haul of Roman and Viking artefacts in field in Aldi bag

A metal detectorist who was using his gadget for the first time was stunned when he stumbled across a hoard of stolen Roman and Viking treasure.

Charles Cartwright, 43, was using his new detector in a field on the border between Worcestershire and Herefordshire when it suddenly started buzzing.

He started digging and was amazed to find a stash of Roman and Viking jewellery, Egyptian statues and Bronze age treasures just a few inches under the dirt and stuffed inside a plastic Aldi shopping bag.

Mr Cartwright contacted the landowner and coroner’s office and found out the items were worth £5,500 had been stolen from a home in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 2017.

Police believe the crooks buried the valuable haul 30 miles away in a field in Polfields Coppice, Doddenham.

West Mercia Police have now reunited the owner with over 270 items of treasure.

Charles Cartwright, 43, was using his new detector in a field on the border between Worcestershire and Herefordshire when it suddenly started buzzing

He started digging and was amazed to find a stash of Roman and Viking jewellery, Egyptian statues and Bronze age treasures just a few inches under the dirt and stuffed inside a plastic Aldi shopping bag

He started digging and was amazed to find a stash of Roman and Viking jewellery, Egyptian statues and Bronze age treasures just a few inches under the dirt and stuffed inside a plastic Aldi shopping bag

Mr Cartwright (pictured) contacted the landowner and coroner's office and found out the items were worth £5,500 had been stolen from a home in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 2017

Mr Cartwright (pictured) contacted the landowner and coroner’s office and found out the items were worth £5,500 had been stolen from a home in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 2017

Mr Cartwright, an ecological projects manager, from Bromyard, Herefordshire, said: ‘It was my very first time out metal detecting.

‘I had been trying for a couple of hours in the morning when I decided to try in an area of woodland and I picked up a signal of a mixture of iron and gold.

‘I put in my spade about a quarter of a foot deep and quickly heard the sound of metal then cleared the dirt with my hands.

‘I found the jug with the bag stuffed inside containing the rest of the items.

‘At first when I received the signal I thought I’d got a false reading but I was amazed when I picked the jug up and it was shining a very bright silver colour.

‘There was an Aldi plastic bag inside so I immediately thought they had been stolen and hidden and were not ancient.

‘I don’t think the Romans had Aldi but they might’ve had Waitrose. I marked the location and immediately went to speak to the farmer who owned the land and rang the police who told me to take them home.

Police believe the crooks buried the valuable haul 30 miles away in a field in Polfields Coppice, Doddenham

Police believe the crooks buried the valuable haul 30 miles away in a field in Polfields Coppice, Doddenham

Mr Cartwright, an ecological projects manager, from Bromyard, Herefordshire, said: 'It was my very first time out metal detecting.' Pictured: The treasure

Mr Cartwright, an ecological projects manager, from Bromyard, Herefordshire, said: ‘It was my very first time out metal detecting.’ Pictured: The treasure

‘I’m not an expert but I recognised some things were early Iron Age and Roman. In total there were 271 items of jewellery in the jug including trinkets, rings and bracelets.

‘I’m told they are worth £5,500 and they are ancient but not high value items.

‘It was just amazing to find something so ancient on my first go and my priority was to get them back to the police as soon as I could.’

The father-of-three said two police officers came to his house after the find two weeks ago to collect the treasure and take a statement.

He also reported it to the coroner and finds officer for Worcestershire.

Mr Cartwright added: ‘I’m not getting a reward but I was delighted to reunite them with the gentleman.

Mr Cartwright added: 'I'm not getting a reward but I was delighted to reunite them with the gentleman.' Pictured: Some of the treasure laid out on the floor

Mr Cartwright added: ‘I’m not getting a reward but I was delighted to reunite them with the gentleman.’ Pictured: Some of the treasure laid out on the floor

‘It was a real privilege to have something so old and historic in my hands if only for a few hours.

‘They might’ve laid there for a thousand years if I hadn’t gone past with the metal detector, it was an incredible bit of luck.

‘It was exhilarating, exciting and I was chuffed to return the items to the gentleman.

‘He is a private collector who bought them at auction and his house was ransacked in March 2017.

‘The auction slip for some of the items was still in the plastic bag. That was only a fraction of what was taken and the rest has not been found.

‘The items were on their way to the British Museum until police realised who they belonged to.

‘The collector has thanked me for returning them and has invited me to his house so I can have a better look at the treasure and learn more about them..’

The owner, who did not want to be named, added: ‘I really don’t know what to say.

‘I am so pleased to get these items back, we had resided ourselves that we wouldn’t get them back as they had been gone that long, you just don’t even think about them being returned anymore.’

Detective Constable Tom Court said: ‘The metal detecting community have helped to reunite the rightful owners with the Roman and Viking jewellery and other treasure items.

‘We will continue to investigate who took these items and buried them.

‘We are exceptionally pleased to be able to return the items to the rightful owner and once again thank Charles for finding and reporting them promptly.’


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