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Police launch heritage crime drive

Created on 22/06/2022 @ 11:12


Illegal metal detectorists and illegal off-roaders are in the sights of local police officers who have launched a campaign to protect our heritage sites.

Dyfed-Powys Police said that unwanted pressures are being put on our favourite places of historical interest saying with illegal metal detecting, or nighthawking, and off-roading on sites to blame.

Now Op Heritage Cymru has been launched by all four Welsh forces to prevent crimes taking place.

Inspector Reuben Palin, from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Heritage crime is a serious issue that can have a serious negative effect on our communities.

“Our heritage and the small pieces of history that are broken down or lost to heritage crime, can never be replaced, so we want to make people think about their actions and discourage anyone from doing it.”

Police teams will be working with CADW, Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, National Parks, National Trust, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, archaeological trusts and various volunteers across the sector to work towards a greater understanding of heritage crime.  

To coincide with the launch, police cadets across Wales are being trained in heritage crime, along with training Rural Crime and Neighbourhood Policing teams.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable, Dr Richard Lewis, added: “Our heritage is what makes us who we are so it is vital that we protect these landmarks and landscapes for future generations.

“It may seem like small crimes to those involved but it is not. Anything that is taken or damaged in the process of heritage crime is irreplaceable. So, once they are gone they are lost forever.

“As police forces we are showing our commitment to this issue so we hope the public will support us by being our eyes and ears and reporting it to us when they see people committing heritage crimes.”

Metal detecting, commonly known as nighthawking, is the illegal search for, and removal of, antiquities from the ground using metal detectors, without the permission of the landowners, or on prohibited land such as Scheduled Monuments.

If you are concerned that a recent incident has taken place which has damaged a historic asset, please call 101 to report the incident to the police.

To pass on information about criminal activity and remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting

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