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Historical artefacts and treasure seized from Sittingbourne house in nighthawking probe


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Historical artefacts have been seized from a house in Sittingbourne as part of a police investigation into illegal metal detecting.

Medieval coins dating back to the 13th century were among the items found at a property in Chalkwell Road.

The warrant was the first in Kent to be carried out under Operation Chronos – a national campaign in conjunction with Historic England to tackle "nighthawking".

Medieval coins dating back to the 13th century were among the items found at the property in Sittingbourne
Medieval coins dating back to the 13th century were among the items found at the property in Sittingbourne

Enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Inspector Dave Smith, of Kent Police’s rural task force, said: "Nighthawking is where people go onto farmland, archaeological sites and other areas of interest to find and steal coins and other treasure for their historical and financial value.

"We hope this sends a clear message to rural communities that we take rural crime seriously" - Inspector Dave Smith

"This practice permanently deprives the country of our heritage and is one we are keen to tackle shoulder-to-shoulder with Historic England, whose policing and crime advisor Mark Harrison we have close ties with.

"Police have joined other forces nationally to have commenced a heritage crime investigation under Operation Chronos, which I hope demonstrates how serious we take the issue."

The Sittingbourne warrant was one of a number of activities carried out by police in Kent and partner agencies across the county on May 25.

Elsewhere in Swale, police community support officers (PCSOs), teamed up with Kent County Council wardens, regular patrols, and volunteers from the Special Constabulary to engage with people living in rural areas and provide crime prevention advice.

Residents living on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway were also visited, while public advice surgeries were set up at various locations in Meopham.

Some of the artefacts seized by police
Some of the artefacts seized by police

Inspector Smith added: "These activities have been hugely successful in tackling rural crime in partnership with our partner organisations.

"Fourteen arrests were made elsewhere in Kent on the day for offences ranging from aggravated burglary and assault to possession with intent to supply drugs.

"We hope this sends a clear message to rural communities that we take rural crime seriously and are actively targeting those we believe are responsible."

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