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Lost and found: the metal detectorists

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 11:47 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

If you're always losing important things but can't find them, don't despair. There's a team of specialist detectives just a phone call away.



Man with a metal detector

Alun Jenkins and Ray Coburn might not look like your normal detectives but they're part of a UK network called the Federation of Independent Detectorists which offers a free service to track down your lost treasure. Items they are called to find include car keys, farm machinery and personal jewellery.

The hub of the detective network is in Swansea in the front room of Secretary Colin Hanson's house.

For the last 25 years, Colin has been coordinating the free scheme and he's now got over 5,000 metal detectorists across the UK to call on when he gets a report of a lost item. The success rate at finding lost items is about 98%!

The detectorists are also out to find real treasure and once in a while they do strike gold. Last year, Terry Herbert discovered the biggest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found in a Staffordshire field - worth £3 million pounds. And in Wales, in the last five months metal detectors have unearthed 2,500 objects of archaeological interest.

Find out more about the Federation of Independent Detectorists, including how to contact them if you lose something, via their website.


  • Comment number 1.

    I Colin, I'm den newly registered. I bought a good priced metal detector,thinking , now I'm retired I can while away the hours with the detector, But not so it seems, I just can't get any permission to search on anyone's land Could you please help me on how to go about it, i don't actually know how to go about it, Any suggestions will be very grateful. thanks Dennis mills.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Dennis,
    Where abouts in the country are you living as there's metal detecting clubs all around the country and i would suggest joining a club of which most attend rallies and have they're own club digs..........
    Alan and ray in the xray programme belong to RARE....Rhondda Artefacts & Research Enthusiasts, and our next meeting is on the 23rd of june @ Trehafod & district social club opposite the Rhondda Heritage park in Trehafod in the Rhondda....
    Feel free to come along and meet us and there's no obligation to join


  • Comment number 3.

    well i don't know whats going on here, iv'e only just signed up, but i went to post you a reply but it said iv'e already said that in comment 2,
    so perhaps Mark has said simular things to me in part of it, i'll wait and see when its been moderated and psoted,

    Alan Jenkins,

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Colin and welcome to this lovely hobby,

    i haven't seen Mark's commments yet, its still awaiting reply,

    But don't give up and don't dispare, maybe the farmers you have asked already has some one going there, or prefere not to have anyone there,,
    keep a look out for farmers in the fields with their tractors, don't be afraid to stop and ask, once you get one, your confidence will lift and you'l come over a bit better and not so nevouse maybe,

    there is always the beaches in the evenings and in winter too,

    now then it would benefit you to look up a Metal detecting club in your area, MIne is the Rhondda Club, you can usually go on their land for now, and learn about a lot of things from the members,

    there is also a good detecting forum running too where can can get all sorts of help and tips,

    Best of Luck

    Alan Jenkins,

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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