Metal detectorists banned from historic sites after damaging monument

The pair were ordered to hand over their metal detector after they removed an artefact from Dunadd Fort in Argyll.

Metal detectorists banned from historic sites after damaging monument at Dunadd Fort in Argyll iStock

Two metal detectorists have been ordered to carry out 80-hours unpaid work after damaging a historic monument and removing an artefact.

Andrejs Grisulis, 35, and Matthew Madden, 55, have also been banned from entering any site owned and managed by Historic Environment Scotland for two years.

They’ve also been instructed to hand over their metal detector.

The pair were seen by witnesses in June 2020 using a metal detector and digging at the protected site of Dunadd Fort in Argyll.

The site is one of the most important early medieval power centres in Scotland and was the royal centre and capital of the early Scottish kingdom of Dál Riata.

It has been subject to legal protection for 90 years.

Following a complaint and a subsequent investigation by Historic Environment Scotland, 28 holes were found at the site and police recovered an extremely fragile and vulnerable iron hammerhead.

The men pled guilty to heritage offences at Dunoon Sheriff Court.

Speaking following the sentencing, Anne Marie Hicks, assistant procurator fiscal for North Strathclyde, underlined the importance of protecting important sites.

“Dunadd Fort is of great significance to our Scottish heritage and the local community,” she said.

“It is a nationally important scheduled monument subject to legal protection.

“It is vitally important that there are laws in place to protect such important sites and as with this case where there is sufficient evidence of a crime and if it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so, we will prosecute.”

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