Four men have been arrested after being found at a historic monument with metal detecting equipment in Mid Suffolk.

The men, aged 23, 24, 25 and 37-years-old were spotted at about 10.15pm on Wednesday and subsequently arrested on suspicion of using a metal detector on a site scheduled as an ancient monument, contrary to Section 42 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act.

They were also found in possession of items that were suspected to have been from the site and arrested on suspicion of removing objects of archaeological and historical interest from a scheduled monument.

The men were also arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and going equipped for theft.

Officers took the men to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.

They were subsequently released under investigation while enquiries continue, a spokesman for Suffolk police said.

Sergeant Brian Calver of Suffolk Constabulary’s Rural, Wildlife and Heritage Policing team, said: “We take heritage crime incredibly seriously. Those responsible are stealing our heritage, our historical knowledge and once it is gone it is often gone forever.

“So please, if you do see anything or suspect anything is taking place, please report it to us straight away.

“If you see a crime in progress please call 999 so we can attend as soon as possible.

“If you know your land is being targeted by nighthawkers, do let us know, so we can proactively target this criminality.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Suffolk police quoting the reference number 37/65490/22.