Shropshire Star

Illegal metal detectors damage Roman site near Shrewsbury

Shropshire's Roman city has been damaged by illegal metal detecting, police believe.

Wroxeter Roman city

Wroxeter Roman City, near Shrewsbury, is one of the country's most important Roman sites with only a small area open for public viewing.

In a statement, West Mercia Police warned digging there without permission is a criminal offence and anyone caught faces being arrested.

A spokesman for the force said: "Over the last few days evidence has been uncovered of damage and possible illegal metal detecting being conducted at the archaeological site of Wroxeter Roman city.

"The Roman City of Viroconium at Wroxeter is one of the premier Roman sites in the United Kingdom and only one of a very few that has not suffered the fate of being built over. Although only a small proportion of the city has been exposed for public viewing, the vast majority of the city lies undisturbed and protected by the soil above it.

"It is an English Heritage site and fully protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

"Thus to use any form of detecting device, dig, remove or damage anything on or from the site without a licence or permission from the Secretary of State constitutes a criminal offence.

"All English Heritage sites as well as designated archaeological sites in the United Kingdom are protected by law. Therefore the use of metal detectors, digging, removing artefacts or damaging the site is illegal. Anyone caught doing any of the above without the necessary permission will, if caught, risk being arrested for the offence."

Last year, metal detector enthusiasts caused problems at Shrewsbury's Quarry Park when a number of holes were found across the grounds.

Metal detector users should check the laws and never go on private or public land without the land owner's permission.

Penalties could include a fine of up to £1,000.

The spokesman said: "If any person has information on any person committing these acts on any protected site in the country, they can either contact their local police force on 101 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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