A METAL detectorist has been found not guilty of a fraud offence after appearing before magistrates.

Michael Jones appeared before magistrates in Hereford accused of one count of fraud by false representation on March 11, after entering a not guilty plea to the charge at an earlier hearing in July last year.

The court heard from prosecutor Paul John that the 64-year-old was accused of dishonestly making a false representation by claiming to have found treasure, namely historical coins, intending to make a gain for himself at Oakcroft in Titley, Kington on July 24, 2021.


The BBC reported that Jones said he had bought the coins from eBay and planted them in the field ahead of 'finding them' during a metal detecting event he was taking part in. 

But Jones, who was represented at the hearing by defence solicitor Matthew Lewis and who is of Rees Street, Port Talbot, was found not guilty of the offence on the day, court registers reveal.

The BBC said that magistrates said he had acted dishonestly, but that the crown could not prove he had made a financial gain. 

The incident is not the first time that a metal detectorist has found themselves in court after a find in Herefordshire, with two men who stole a Herefordshire Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard worth more than £3.2m ordered to repay over £600k each in December 2022.

George Powell, 41, and Layton Davies, 54 were found guilty of theft, conspiracy to conceal criminal property and conspiracy to convert criminal property after unearthing the Herefordshire Hoard, which included Anglo-Saxon coins, jewellery and silver ingots during spring 2015.

They not only failed to disclose the extent of their discovery - a requirement under the Treasure Act 1996 - but also sold a large number of the items for significant personal financial gain.

They were sentenced to 10 years and eight years and six months in prison respectively, later reduced to six years and five years after an appeal.

​The Herefordshire Hoard was described by experts as being of national importance both for Anglo-Saxon coinage and for the wider understanding of a key period in English history.