Metal Detecting Laws

Metal Detecting Laws

Metal Detecting Laws vary from country to country so unfortunately i cannot give a definitive answer to anyone from a given region. Generally speaking all countries have the following basic metal detecting laws –

  • You must have the landowners permission before metal detecting on his or her lands. If permission is granted the landowner has the RIGHT to an agreed percentage of any finds (be sure to clarify this before metal detecting and if possible get it in writing).
  • You cannot metal detect near historical landmarks – old castles, ancient settlements or the site of archaeological digs unless given specific rights to do so. Generally speaking the only people allowed to do this would be government employees and/or archaeologists.
  • Most countries will ask that you have a metal detecting license, failure to do so (when required) may result in the taking of your metal detecting equipment, a large fine and possibly even a jail sentence depending on the severity of the crime committed.
  • You cannot metal detect on another persons claim. Clashes like these have resulted in injuries and even worse. Would you like to find someone metal detecting on a claim that you own? Be sure to check all local claims before embarking on an expedition.

Beach Metal Detecting Laws – again these are generalizations for all countries

  • When metal detecting on a beach, anything found BELOW the high tide mark is rightfully yours. Other finds may have to be handed in to the police, placed in the lost and found section and when it’s collection time has passed it then becomes your property.
  • No matter what you find on a beach, whether it be an old can, a ring-pull or even a gold ring you must take all items with you. Not only will this make your next expedition less frustrating, it also cleans up the environment and lessens the risk of fellow beach goers (especially children) being injured by a sharp metal fragment left lying around by a lazy prospector – rusted metal cuts can lead to septicemia, be sure to take all finds home and discard accordingly.

The rules above are just some general rules that can be found in all countries. Some countries may have stricter rules, others more relaxed. It is always advisable to contact your local geological society or related government body before going metal detecting, you could save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle. Metal detecting laws are ignored at your peril.