Heritage crime

Heritage crime is defined as 'any offence which harms the value of England's heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations'.

Metal detectors warning sign

Thames Valley sites of interest area: the Roman villa in North Leigh, West Oxfordshire and the Rollright Stones near Chipping Norton.

Advice on Heritage Crime

  • Theft or criminal damage involving a monument or an archaeological area should be reported to the police as soon as possible. A report should include a description of offenders and associated motor vehicles.
  • Carrying out work on a scheduled monument without consent should be reported to English Heritage (opens new window).
  • The vast majority of metal detector-users are law-abiding people and will only detect and search for objects on land where they have the landowner’s permission.
  • A landowner cannot give permission for a person to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument.
  • Metal detecting in a specified location without consent could amount to theft.
  • Illegal detecting at night is sometimes known by the term ‘night hawking’ for more information contact the National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD) (opens new window).
  • If a member of the public comes across any buried treasure contact English Heritage (opens new window) for advice.