Thieves target historic site

POLICE have been called in after a series of holes were dug at a heritage site which has been plagued for years by thieves armed with metal detectors.

POLICE have been called in after a series of holes were dug at a heritage site which has been plagued for years by thieves armed with metal detectors.

Icklingham farmer John Browning owns land which was once a Roman settlement.

Last night he told how his fields had been targeted three times in the past five days by night-time thieves carrying metal detectors. It is understood they dig up the area looking for valuable Roman artefacts following the discovery there of a number of bronze heads and statuettes.

They are the latest in a string of incidents involving treasure hunters. At least 50 people have been caught and penalised over the years and Mr Browning believes more than 100 incidents have gone unpunished.


You may also want to watch:


Earlier this year three men were fined for visiting the site equipped to steal.

They were spotted on the site by Mr Browning who was using a special nightscope.

Most Read

Ricky McCabe, 34, David Miller, 38, and Alan Chapman, 37, all from Chadwell St Mary, each admitted going to a field equipped to steal. All three were ordered to pay £250 in costs, McCabe and Miller fined £250 and Chapman fined £500 when they appeared before a judge at Ipswich Crown Court in March.

Mr Browning said he did not know what more he could do to protect the site. He often carries out night patrols and keeps an eye on the plot generally to deter would-be raiders.

The ideal solution, he said, would be for a full archaeological survey to be carried out on the land but that, he added, would be impossible because of the size of the fields and the multi-million pound cost of such a project.

“I safeguard it as best as I can but I can't do it every night,” he said.

The most recent incidents happened on Saturday night, Sunday night and Tuesday night. “None were seen but the evidence is there. The problem continues,” he said.

Anybody with information about the latest incident should contact Pc Mike Geeson at Mildenhall police on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter