A man and a women from south Essex have been charged by the police with offences under the Treasure Act 1996. The man has been charged with a further offence alleging he went equipped for theft.
The pair, named in local media as Shane Wood, 62, of West Hanningfield Road, Great Baddow, and Kim Holman, 61, of East Road, Chadwell Heath, have been charged with failing to inform the coroner that they had found an object which they believed to be Treasure.
Under Section 8 of the Treasure Act anyone finding an object, which they believe to be treasure under the terms of the Act, must inform the local coroner within fourteen days beginning the day after the find, or, if later, the same day they come to believe the object is treasure. Treasure finds reported to the coroner are assessed by a committee hosted by the British Museum and can result either in the find being returned to the finder, or with the finder and the landowner sharing a financial reward, usually split 50:50.
If found guilty defendants charged under Section 8 of the Act face a prison sentence of up to three months, a fine at Scale 5 [£5000], or both.
In a statement issued on Facebook by Essex Police, the police state that the offences relate to the discovery of more than 900 Iron Age Gold Staters in the #Chelmsford area in September 2020.
Essex was important in the Iron Age as a centre of the powerful Trinovantes, a tribe whose lands covered modern Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, and which fought the Roman invaders under both Julius Caesar and Claudius.
A gold stater is a type of hammered coin struck by hand and issued by Iron Age tribes, as well as in the names of individual chieftains such as the famous Caractacus [Caradoc] who fought the Roman invasion in AD43.
Auction prices for individual staters begin in the low hundreds of pounds. Rare examples can fetch tens of thousand pounds each.
Mr Wood is also charged with going equipped for theft.
On conviction this charge can attract a prison sentence of up to three years.
The pair will appear at Chelmsford Magistrate’s Court on Friday 30 April.
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