A former police officer who kept rare gold coins he found on a farmer’s land was sentenced today (8 March) to 16 months’ imprisonment for theft.
David Cockle, a former officer from Norfolk Police, had permission from a local landowner to use a metal detector, with an agreement that anything he found would be reported and surrendered.
At an earlier hearing, Ipswich Crown Court was told he found 10 ‘Merovingian Tremissis’ gold coins from Gaul (France) dating back to the sixth or seventh centuries.
Instead of notifying the landowner and the proper authorities, Cockle sold the coins to a dealer for £15,000 and kept the money for himself. Eight out of the 10 coins were later recovered by the police.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge gave Cockle a prison sentence and imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order to prevent him from engaging in metal detecting activity for five years.
Punam Malhan from the CPS said:
“No matter how excited someone might be at finding buried gold treasure, there is a proper procedure to be followed when that happens. This is so that the find is correctly assessed and the historical importance of the find and its site recorded for future generations.
“This was a serious breach of trust by a police officer."