A MAN who organised a metal detecting event has been told at an inquest that he does not have a valid claim to a haul of Treasure Trove recovered from a suspected Anglo-Saxon grave.

Deputy Coroner Geoff Fell told James Pincher, from Darlington, he would be advising the British Museum that he is not entitled to a share of any money from items found at a dig at Busks Farm, near Middleham, North Yorkshire.

Items found on the dig, attended by around ten people, between April 16 and 17, 2011, include a gold coin, gold pommel, copper alloy mount, iron sword and dagger, copper alloy pommel and three copper alloy hooks.

Not all items were recorded with the Finds Liaison Office straight away, and there are still five silver coins missing that Mr Fell called to be returned – but said he would be handing his file to police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The inquest at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday, July 10) heard that land owner Derek Allison was introduced to Stephen Smith after the event as the finder of a gold coin, gold pommel, iron sword, copper alloy hook by Mr Pincher.

But Mr Pincher later claimed to finds liaison officer Frances McIntosh that he found the iron sword and gold pommel on his own.

Miss McIntosh told the inquest she was not sure if it was Treasure at first but suspected the items came from a grave so would be of historical importance.

She said: “After the items had been handed in to be I found out there was a missing mount.

“It was discussed that another finder had it and Mr Pincher would contact him about it.”

The inquest heard the silver coins, found by an Italian tourist, were last seen in the possession of Mr Pincher – something he denies.

Mr Pincher told the inquest he had unearthed the pommel and sword after Mr Smith had grown tired of digging the area.

The Northern Echo: Copper alloy mount
A copper alloy mount

But Mr Fell said he found Mr Pincher to be an “unreliable witness.”

“I fail to see how Mr Pincher can assert a claim to Mr Smith’s good fortune.

“I am recording a verdict that all items found were Treasure, either because of their worth or because their association with other items.

“Whoever had the silver coins – if he does not have them he would be well advised to tell whoever does have them to send to the British Museum.”