Following on from our story last year on the issue of day hawkers in Dorset, it appears that the problem is spreading eastwards across the country being made apparent by reports that Sussex police have been granted an “absolutely absurd amount” of tax payers money to help combat against a recent spree of heritage crime incidents which have been happening in broad daylight at protected sites across the southern county.
Early this morning Constable John Piggott from Sussex police released images of two men they would like to speak with in connection to digging without a spade at a protected world war two bomber crash site on Butts hill Near Eastbourne last week. But Sussex police refused to comment when Reporter Phil Maholin suggested the possibly of a connection between the Butts hill incident, and another similar occurrence which happened just down the road a few weeks previously at a protected iron-age hill fort near Worthing. Phil also suggested the whole thing could be a conspiracy and pointed out that the two men in the photographs were dressed very similarly to many leading archeologists and that they could be trying to impersonate, and incriminate metal detectorists to further their agenda of getting strict restrictions placed on the hobby and maybe even a ban.
Regardless of the public inquiries made into whether the two incidents have any real footing or evidence, Sussex police have been granted the cash and will be spending it on state of the art equipment and a range of vehicles designed specifically for catching heritage criminals. We sent Reporter Paul McCoil to speak with a member of the engineering science team behind the radical new vehicles, Dr. Ed Steiner.
PM: So what’s this contraption here, it looks a bit like a tractor ?
ES: Well Paul, what you are looking at is a Hawk Hunter MKI which is basically a John Deere tractor with increased engine power, and several gizmos and gadgets fitted as standard to aid the appointed heritage officer in disrupting, identifying, and catching illegal metal detectorists, and other less prolific heritage criminals such as “Mud hawks” or rogue field walkers known as “Rimmers”or “Flint nappers”
PM: could you possibly run us through some of the features of the modified vehicle, what’s that gun thing on the back?
ES: That’s the “Green waste Cannon” this little baby is actually just a remolded muck sprayer, but instead of spreading muck , the device is loaded to the teeth with an anti- detectorist formula crafted in police forensic laboratories on advise obtained by working closely with well known archeologist Paul Barfood. She fires a lethal concoction of Ring pulls, shredded coke can, copper nails, rolled up tinfoil, hot rocks, used syringes and worn Georgian coins, and can contaminate roughly an acre a minute. Paul assures us this will deter metal detectorists.
She also has a ground penetrating radar which can detect frequencies made by disturbing soil thus alerting the heritage officer of any potential digging that may be happening in a 5 mile radius, we are informed that the wave patterns made by detectorists digging are very distinguishable and unlike those made by animals. It is also fitted with an electromagnetic scrambler that can disrupt any devices running between 1- 50 Khz, it also has aquatic capabilities, it is fully submersible with a wide range of features for catching heritage thieves in any rivers or muddy wetland environments. It’s not all about the technology though, the officer is also equipped with some much more basic equipment, such as a simple net for snaring criminals from the safety of the tractor whilst calling for back up, and a megaphone for shouting at trespassing field walkers, who are definitely at the lower end of heritage crime Spectrum but a menace on the rise none the less.
Several reports have been made recently from popular Sunday walking areas at countryside locations all over the south reporting potential rogue field walkers at work dressed in jeans and thick woolen jumpers often accompanied by small dogs as a convenient alibi for straying off public rights of way.If you see anyone walking around arable fields with a canine companion and a very distinct arched neck posture with hands folded behind the back , staring at the ground retrieving objects from the soil, please call your local police station immediately.