Metal Detecting Code of Conduct


Metal Detecting Code of Conduct

  1. Do not trespass. Obtain permission from the landowner before venturing on to any land
  2. Respect the country code. Do not leave gates open and do not damage crops or frighten animals
  3. Wherever the site may be, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground). Extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully and even you will have trouble locating the spot again.
  4. If you discover any live amunition or any other lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and the land owner.
  5. Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of any rubbish you come across
  6. Report all unusual historical finds to the land owner and, acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the voluntary reporting of portable antiques.
  7. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a protected area (e.g. scheduled archaeological site, special site of scientific interest or MOD property), without permission from the appropriate authority.
  8. Acquaint yourself with the definitions of Treasure contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated code of practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.
  9. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
  10. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.


1996 Treasure Act

The following finds are Treasure under the Act, if found after 24 September 1997 (or, in the case of category 2, if found after 1 January 2003):

  1. Any metallic object, other than a coin, provided that at least 10 per cent by weight of metal is precious metal (that is, gold or silver) and that it is at least 300 years old when found. If the object is of prehistoric date it will be Treasure provided any part of it is precious metal.
  2. Any group of two or more metallic objects of any composition of prehistoric date that come from the same find (see below)
  3. All coins from the same find provided they are at least 300 years old when found (but if the coins contain less than 10 per cent of gold or silver there must be at least ten of them). Only the following groups of coins will normally be regarded as coming from the same find:
    • hoards that have been deliberately hidden
    • smaller groups of coins, such as the contents of purses, that may been dropped or lost
    • votive or ritual deposits.
  4. Any object, whatever it is made of, that is found in the same place as, or had previously been together with, another object that is Treasure.
  5. Any object that would previously have been treasure trove, but does not fall within the specific categories given above. Only objects that are less than 300 years old, that are made substantially of gold or silver, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown will come into this category.

Note: An object or coin is part of the ‘same find’ as another object or coin if it is found in the same place as, or had previously been together with, the other object. Finds may have become scattered since they were originally deposited in the ground.



What should I do if I find something that may be Treasure?

You must report all finds of Treasure to a coroner for the district in which they are found either within 14 days after the day on which you made the discovery or within 14 days after the day on which you realised the find might be treasure.



Metal Detectors and the Environment

Metal Detection equipment may contain substances that can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly.

Electrical and electronic equipment should never be disposed of with general household waste but must be separately collected for their proper treatment and recovery.

The crossed out bin symbol, placed on the product, reminds you of the need to dispose of the product correctly at the end of its life.

In this way you will assist the recovery, recycling and reuse of many of the materials used in this product.

When buying new products we offer you the possibility to return at your cost another end of life product of equivalent type that has fulfilled the same functions as the supplied equipment

Where possible recycle your packaging

With your help it is possible to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic waste ending up in landfill and to improve quality of life by preventing the release of potentially hazardous substances into the environment.




Metal Detecting Advice
  1. All land in the UK has an owner, whose permission is required before you can use a metal detector.
  2. It is illegal to use a metal detector on a scheduled ancient monument without permission.
  3. To find a metal detecting club in your area see the list on the web site of The National Council for Metal Detecting?
  4. When you are out using your metal detector always follow the code of conduct
  5. You should note the location of any archaeological objects you find and take these to your local Finds Liaison Officer to record it.
  6. Understand the definitions of Treasure contained in the Treasure Act of 1996 and understand your legal obligations to it.