A man has been left with a serious head injury after confronting a group who were illegally “nighthawking”.
Men were seen “nighthawking” – illegally using a metal detector to steal items from private land – in Yapham Road, Pocklington, shortly after midnight on Saturday, April 6.
When the landowner went to challenge them, though, the group turned on him and badly hurt him in a “serious” attack, before fleeing the scene in a silver Audi.
A Humberside Police spokesman said: “The man sustained a serious head injury.
“He remains in a stable condition in hospital following the incident where he had challenged men that were on his land illegally metal detecting known as nighthawking.
“If you witnessed this incident and have not already spoken to officers please call us on our non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 16/44596/19.”
What is Nighthawking?
‘Nighthawking’ describes unlawful metal detecting on farmland, archaeological sites and other areas of archaeological interest heritage, usually to steal coins and other artefacts for their historical and financial value.
“Nighthawking refers to the fact that such illegal activity is often undertaken at night to avoid detection and arrest,” a police spokesman said.
“Although this is deceiving as it also occurs during the day. It can occur anywhere in the country, but counties such as the East Riding of Yorkshire are particularly vulnerable due to the rich heritage and large amounts of arable land.
““The removal of any object from land without the landowner’s permission may amount to an offence of theft. It is also an offence to metal detect on a Scheduled Monument without a licence or to fail to report the discovery of potential items of Treasure.
“The historic objects and artefacts that are recovered are often kept in private collections or sold for personal profit.
“Because they are stolen property, the finders are unlikely to report their finds and valuable historical data is lost for good. Incidents of crime against heritage assets, including unlawful metal detecting should be reported to the police.”
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