THESE are just a few of the astonishing items recovered from the Leominster Viking hoard.

They include coins, bracelets, a crystal sphere, rings and a silver ingot.

Some of the items are of great beauty.

But many more have been lost to the national, victims of the selfishness and greed of four men involved in the discovery, concealment and theft of the priceless treasure.

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West Mercia Police was alerted to the possibility of an unreported large treasure find by various reports from the metal detecting community and the British Museum.

A find such as this should be reported to the local coroner’s office, in this case Herefordshire, under the terms of the Treasure Act (1996).

During the investigation, which began in June 2015, Herefordshire detectives discovered that George Powell and Layton Davies had visited the site at which the hoard, including Anglo-Saxon coins, jewellery and silver ingots, was found earlier that month (June 2015).

The treasure is described as of national importance both for Anglo-Saxon coinage and for the wider understanding of a key period in English history.

Herefordshire local policing commander Superintendent Sue Thomas said: This has been a lengthy and detailed investigation that I am pleased to see has resulted in four men being found guilty of the crimes.”

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She continued: “I hope the result from this trial demonstrates to the metal detecting community we take this sort of crime very seriously. It is a criminal offence to not declare finds of treasure to the local coroner’s office.”

Detective Constable Nigel Cleeton, investigating officer for the operation, said: “In all my policing years of service this is the most unusual investigation I have been involved in. We have had archaeologist advisers from Herefordshire County Council’s conservation and environment team, the British Museum and a plethora of experts to help identify items.”

He continued: “We believe there are coins outstanding and would appeal to anyone that may have come across these items or has any information to get in touch via 101.”

Gareth Williams, curator of medieval coins and viking collections at the British Museum said “I am pleased that this case has now been resolved after four years of police investigation. This is an unusual and important find, both in terms of what it can tell us about the history of the period, and because some of the individual objects are so rare and beautiful.”

He continued: “Discoveries such as this are an important part of our national heritage, and the Treasure Act (1996) is designed to ensure that such finds can be acquired by museums for the benefit of the general public, rather than being quietly sold on the black market.

“Britain has the most generous system in the world for rewarding finders when they follow the law. Unfortunately, this needs to be balanced with suitable penalties when they do not.”