The jury in the trial of two men accused of trying to sell rare Anglo-Saxon coins on the “black market” will continue its deliberations tomorrow (Thurs April 27).

Following three weeks of evidence in the case, at Durham Crown Court, the jury retired to continue its verdicts in the trial of Craig Best and Roger Pilling shortly after the hearing resumed following the lunch adjournment today (Wed April 26).

But after being called back into Court One, at 4.15pm, Judge James Adkin told the jurors to go home for the night and asked them to return to resume their deliberations at 10am tomorrow.

They are to decide if Best, from Bishop Auckland, was actively trying to offer for sale up to 44 9th Century Anglo-Saxon-minted coins, which were in the possession of co-accused, Roger Pilling, from Lancashire.

Read more: Jury considers verdicts in case of Bishop Auckland man and co-accused

They must also decide if the men knew that the coins should have been declared to the authorities as ‘treasure’, under the terms of the Treasury Act, 1996.

It is the Crown’s case that the coins, said to be worth an estimated £766,000, were probably part of a larger undeclared Viking hoard, unearthed in Leominster, Herefordshire, in 2015.

Two metal detectorists were subsequently jailed for a combined total of more than 18 years for failing to declare those coins and for selling them.

Their sentences were later reduced to six and five years, respectively, on appeal.

A further pair of coin sellers were also convicted for concealing their find.

The prosecution believes three of the unrecovered hoard, including a very rare ‘Two Emperor’ piece, were seized when Best was arrested after being lured to attend a meeting with what he believed was an expert, acting on behalf of a potential American buyer, at The Royal County Hotel, in Durham, in May 2019.

It was, in reality, a “sting” operation organised by undercover police.

Following Best’s arrest in Durham, police in Lancashire searched Pilling’s home in Rossendale, from where a further 41 Anglo-Saxon coins was recovered.

Both Best, 46, of South View, Bishop Auckland, and 75-year-old Pilling, of Loveclough, Rossendale, deny a joint charge of conspiracy to convert (sell) criminal property (the coins).

They each also deny separate charges of possessing criminal property.

The defendants claim that they were unaware the coins should have been declared and that Best, on behalf of Pilling, was merely trying to verify their authenticity, and was not trying to sell them.

Read more: Rare coin trial of Bishop Auckland metal detectorist and co-accused

In his closing directions, Judge Adkin told the jury that it must either find both defendants guilty or not guilty of the conspiracy charge.

If they convict them on that allegation, then it would prove the respective second charges of possessing criminal property faced by each defendant.

Read next:

Bishop Auckland man denies trying to sell coins from Viking Hoard

Trial of Bishop Auckland man and co-accused in ancient coins case

Rare coin 'seller' unaware would-be buyer was undercover cop

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But the judge added that if they found the defendants not guilty of the conspiracy charge, they could both still be convicted of possessing criminal property.

Following his summing up of the evidence in the case, Judge Adkin sent the jury out to consider their verdicts shortly after 2.10pm today (Wednesday April 26).