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Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

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42 Restrictions on use of metal detectors.E+W+S

(1)If a person uses a metal detector in a protected place without the written consent [F1of Historic Environment Scotland (in the case of a place situated in Scotland),] of the [F2Commission (in a case of a place situated in England) or of the Secretary of State (in any other case)] he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction or, in Scotland, on conviction before a court of summary jurisdiction, to a fine not exceeding [F3level 3 on the standard scale].

(2)In this section—

  • metal detector” means any device designed or adapted for detecting or locating any metal or mineral in the ground; and

  • protected place” means any place which is either—

(a)the site of a scheduled monument or of any monument under the ownership or guardianship of the Secretary of State [F4, Historic Environment Scotland] [F5or the Commission] or a local authority by virtue of this Act; or

(b)situated in an area of archaeological importance.

(3)If a person without [F6written consent] removes any object of archaeological or historical interest which he has discovered by the use of a metal detector in a protected place he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or on conviction on indictment to a fine.

[F7The reference in this subsection to written consent is to that [F8of Historic Environment Scotland (where the place in question is situated in Scotland),] of the Commission (where the place in question is situated in England) or of the Secretary of State (in any other case)]

(4)A consent granted by [F9Historic Environment Scotland,] the Secretary of State [F10or the Commission] for the purposes of this section may be granted either unconditionally or subject to conditions.

(5)If any person—

(a)in using a metal detector in a protected place in accordance with any consent granted by [F11Historic Environment Scotland,] the Secretary of State [F10or the Commission] for the purposes of this section; or

(b)in removing or otherwise dealing with any object which he has discovered by the use of a metal detector in a protected place in accordance with any such consent;

fails to comply with any condition attached to the consent, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable, in a case falling within paragraph (a) above, to the penalty provided by subsection (1) above, and in a case falling within paragraph (b) above, to the penalty provided by subsection (3) above.

(6)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) above, it shall be a defence for the accused to [F12prove] [F12show] that he used the metal detector for a purpose other than detecting or locating objects of archaeological or historical interest.

(7)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) or (3) above [F13relating to a protected place situated in England] , it shall be a defence for the accused to [F14prove that he had taken all reasonable precautions] [F14show that—

(a)he had taken all reasonable steps]

to find out whether the place where he used the metal detector was a protected place [F15and did not believe that it was.] [F15; and

(b)he did not know and had no reason to believe that that place was a protected place]

[F16(8)In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) or (3) relating to a protected place situated in Wales, it is a defence for the accused to prove that the accused—

(a)had taken all reasonable steps to find out whether the place in which the metal detector was used was a protected place; and

(b)did not know, and had no reason to believe, that the place was a protected place.]

Textual Amendments

F1Words in s. 42(1) inserted (S.) (27.2.2015 for specified purposes, 1.10.2015 in so far as not already in force) by Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 (asp 19), s. 31(2), sch. 2 para. 45(a) (with ss. 29, 30); S.S.I. 2015/31, art. 2, sch.; S.S.I. 2015/196, art. 2, sch.

F4Words in s. 42(2) inserted (S.) (27.2.2015 for specified purposes, 1.10.2015 in so far as not already in force) by Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 (asp 19), s. 31(2), sch. 2 para. 45(b) (with ss. 29, 30); S.S.I. 2015/31, art. 2, sch.; S.S.I. 2015/196, art. 2, sch.

F8Words in s. 42(3) inserted (S.) (27.2.2015 for specified purposes, 1.10.2015 in so far as not already in force) by Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 (asp 19), s. 31(2), sch. 2 para. 45(c) (with ss. 29, 30); S.S.I. 2015/31, art. 2, sch.; S.S.I. 2015/196, art. 2, sch.

F9Words in s. 42(4) inserted (S.) (27.2.2015 for specified purposes, 1.10.2015 in so far as not already in force) by Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 (asp 19), s. 31(2), sch. 2 para. 45(d) (with ss. 29, 30); S.S.I. 2015/31, art. 2, sch.; S.S.I. 2015/196, art. 2, sch.

F11Words in s. 42(5)(a) inserted (S.) (27.2.2015 for specified purposes, 1.10.2015 in so far as not already in force) by Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 (asp 19), s. 31(2), sch. 2 para. 45(e) (with ss. 29, 30); S.S.I. 2015/31, art. 2, sch.; S.S.I. 2015/196, art. 2, sch.

F13Words in s. 42(7) inserted (E.W.) (21.5.2016) by Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (anaw 4), ss. 17(2), 41(2)

F16S. 42(8) inserted (E.W.) (21.5.2016) by Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (anaw 4), ss. 17(3), 41(2)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C2S. 42(1) excluded (18.12.1996) by 1996 c. 61, s. 12, Sch. 7 para. 4(12)

C3S. 42(1) excluded (22.7.2008) by Crossrail Act 2008 (c. 18), Sch. 9 para. 4(12)

C6S. 42(3) excluded (18.12.1996) by 1996 c. 61, s. 12, Sch. 7 para. 4(13)

C7S. 42(3) excluded (22.7.2008) by Crossrail Act 2008 (c. 18), Sch. 9 para. 4(13)

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