A former West Norfolk police officer has been jailed for 16 months after admitting stealing ancient gold coins he found in a farmer’s field.
Instead of honouring an agreement with the landowner to split the proceeds of any finds, David Cockle sold the coins for £15,000 and kept all the money for himself.
Today, Ipswich Crown Court heard that Cockle, who was dismissed from the Norfolk force last month because of his offending, had pleaded guilty to theft.
Cockle, 50, formerly of Stoke Road, Wereham and now living in Manchester, uncovered 10 gold coins on farmland in West Norfolk where another detectorist had earlier found 35 Merovingian coins which had all been correctly reported.
To avoid having the coins he uncovered declared trasure, Cockle failed to inform the coroner and sold them in small quantities to a dealer to avoid suspicion.
Appearing for Cockle, Nick Bonehill said his client was no longer able to work in either finance or the police, where he had enjoyed sucessful careers, as a result of his conviction.
He said Cockle’s theft had been motivated by a £10,000 divorce settlement. He also had lost money gambling.
Jailing him for 16 months, Judge Rupert Overbury told Cockle: “The motivation for your dishonest behaviour was pure greed.”
He said that, with more than 30 years experience of metal detecting, Cockle was well aware of the correct legal procedure he should have followed after finding the coins.
Cockle was also made the subject of a five year criminal behaviour order.
The order bans Cockle from engaging in metal detecting, making any agreement with landowners regarding detecting, requires him to cancel any agreements already in force and prohibits him from possessing or using any metal detecting equipment.