Pair investigated on suspicion of attempting to loot buried treasure from Northamptonshire Roman town

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Chronicle & Echo, latest news, website logo

TWO people are being investigated by police on suspicion of attempting to loot buried treasure from the site of a historic Roman walled town in Northamptonshire.

Police confirmed the two suspects remained on bail on suspicion of illegally using a metal detector, the theft of treasure, damage to the land and other offences at a site of “tremendous historical and archeological importance”. They are believed to have attempted to take Roman coins and other historical artefacts.

Police said ‘several’ alleged crimes were being investigated at Chester House Farm, in Irchester, which is regarded by historians as one of the most important sites of its type in the county. Police are now liaising with experts from English Heritage and a national police expert about pursuing a case, which if prosecuted, could be one of the biggest of its kind in the country.

A meeting has now been scheduled with a national expert following a visit from the British Museum earlier this month.

Meanwhile, two exploratory digs have now been carried out on the land, which is owned by Northamptonshire County Council.

A County Hall spokesman said: “Chester House Farm is a site of tremendous historical and archaeological importance. We have a responsibility to manage the site and ensure any buried remains are preserved. We have recently undertaken two very small-scale exploratory excavations on the area known to have been a Roman walled town.

“As a scheduled ancient monument, approval needed to be given by the secretary of state before any excavation work could take place on site.

“The work was done specifically to answer certain key questions about the buried archaeology and its state of preservation below the soil. This information will help us understand how best to look after it. A full report is now being compiled on the results of the dig, the findings of which will soon be made available to the public.

“We hope there will be further small scale excavations over the coming years and opportunities for public engagement.”