First Prosecution under the Treasure Act

Published: 11 years ago Author:

It has been widely reported that Kate Harding from Ludlow has been the first person prosecuted under the Treasure Act 1996. This note provides clarification on a number of points that have either been omitted from the media reports, or have been incorrectly reported.

  • It has been reported that Harding failed to report a silver coin. In fact the find was a piedfort of Charles IV of France. Piedforts look similar to coins, but experts agree they were not used as currency; therefore they are classed as artefacts and thus single finds of piedforts qualify as Treasure provided they are made of at least 10% of gold or silver. Two single finds of silver piedforts from Surrey and Staffordshire have been declared Treasure and acquired by the British Museum in 2007 (Portable Antiquities & Treasure Report 2007, cat. 285) and 2008 (2008 T388).
  • It has been reported that Harding found the coin as she worked in the garden with her mother at their home in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. She originally told the Finds Liaison Officer that she found it in 2008 in her garden in Ludlow, Shropshire.
  • It has been reported that the authorities have been heavy handed on Harding. Harding was repeatedly informed of her legal obligations to report the silver piedfort under the Treasure Act 1996, but failed to do so, so the case was brought to the attention of the local Coroner.
  • The Police investigated the case at the request of the Coroner and passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which took the decision to prosecute. Harding told the Police she had lost the find, but produced it during sentencing.
  • Harding pleaded guilty on 17 February 2010 to failing to report an item which she believed or had reasonable grounds for believing is Treasure (Section 8 of the Treasure Act 1996).
  • In due course there will be a Coroner's Inquest to determine the exact circumstances of discovery and whether or not the object is Treasure.

Contact: Michael Lewis 0207 3238611


There are 1 comments on this story.

  • Stuart wrote @ 19:37:01 on the 30th May 2010.

    Think it was still handled badly, The scheme was changed to not include single coin finds, (Maybe this should be re-thought to include single coins over 700 years old and of great rarity to be included in the scheme) and to any member of the public it still looks coin like. You can buy new pound coins as piedforts? The PAS is there to encourage people to bring finds in for recording which i assume at some point this lady did. Of all the illegal detecting that still goes on and the people still never get prosecuted or their equipment confiscated it could have been handled much better.

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