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Metal detectorists attempt to raid battlefield site where Richard III was killed

Leicestershire Police report that the historic Bosworth Battlefield site has recently been disturbed by illegal metal detectorists hopeful they’ll discover treasure. Police have recovered items left behind by the searchers at the site, which is near the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre in Sutton Cheney.

King Richard III was killed on the battlefield during the final significant clash of the War of the Roses but according to Heritage Development Manager at Leicestershire County Council, Richard Knox: “The battlefield site is a couple of miles from the heritage centre and we did significant work to reclaim objects from the site between 2005 and 2012.

“Our investigators walked the equivalent distance of a trip to Moscow. There will be a very small number of relics which come from different periods and are nothing to do with the battlefield.

“We are in regular contact with landowners who told us about people coming overnight and digging holes in private ground, damaging crops and disturbing birds nesting.

“Little remains relating to the battle of 1485, but it if anything is found and is taken it would be historically damaging for us. I have heard about this going on over the past couple of years, but it is the first time I have heard of it on this scale.

“It involved a 200 square metre area with lots of little holes under cover of darkness when it is harder to be caught, but local residents are being vigilant and the police drive by when they can.

“The battlefield covered a large area with almost 20,000 fighting on it, and the rough area of it is fairly well known. It’s open agricultural land and the people doing this are ruining landowners’ crops for very little reward.

“What’s very sad is that it affects the reputation of the many legitimate detectorists. And it is important that our historical sites should be respected.”

According to a spokesperson for Leicestershire Police: “We were contacted on July 27 by the Leicestershire County Council Heritage and Development department to report holes dug in the grounds of the site, which suggested the possibility of digging and removing of historic artefacts.

“A local beat officer visited the location and advice was given about ways in which to improve the security of the site.”