The people who found treasures worth millions

It's time to get the metal detector out!

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When Derek McLennan's metal detector began bleeping in the middle of a field, little did he know it would set him up for life.

His find – including silver bracelets, brooches, a gold ring, a Christian cross and a bird-shaped pin – was quickly revealed to be the richest collection of rare Viking artefacts ever found in the UK.

See also: Property engulfed in ivy sells for £500,000

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Now, three years after uncovering the 10th century hoard in Dumfries and Galloway, 47-year-old Derek is set to receive a cool £1.98million.

The Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, who rules on ownerless goods and property in Scotland on behalf of the Crown, has ruled the items should be handed to National Museums Scotland for display.

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His haul, including this 10th century cross, has helped him score a £1.98million finder's fee

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This golden pin, hailing back to the time of Vikings, was also found in Dumfries and Galloway by metal detector enthusiast Derek McLennan

But the ruling says the museums must also pay Derek full market value for the find.

As he gets ready to enjoy his windfall, we investigate the other treasure-seeking detectorists who landed themselves a fortune with one small bleep...

Roman coins and jewellery in Hoxne, Suffolk - worth £1.75million

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Hammer to haul: Peter sought Eric's help to retrieve a lost hammer but found something far better, 14,780 gold coins

When Peter Whatling lost his hammer on farmland near Hoxne, Suffolk, the best thing he ever did was to ask a friend with a metal detector to help.

As Eric Lawes helped him search,he found something altogether more remarkable – 14,780 gold and silver coins, along with 200 jewellery items,ornaments and tableware.

All part of the accumulated wealth of the affluent family of Roman Aurelius Ursicinus, the 1992 discovery brought the two men a finder's fee of £1.75million – then the largest payment ever made by the Crown to a treasure hunter.

And easily enough for a new hammer. The artefacts are on display in the British Museum.

Viking treasure in Harrogate - worth £500,000

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Father and son David and Andre Whelan stumbled across a stash of Viking treasure worth £500k

A stash of Viking treasure described as "the world in a vessel" is believed to have earned father and son detectorists David and Andrew Whelan a tidy £500,000.

The Whelans found the 600 plundered coins in a Harrogate field in 2007.

The coins – from lands ranging from central Asia to north Africa – were sold to the Yorkshire Museum for £1 million.

The payout was split between David, 51, son Andrew, 35, and the owners of the land.

Gold chalice in County Tipperary - worth £50,000

Michael Webb and his son uncovered this gold chalice in 1980 while searching the site of a Christian abbey in County Tipperary

It was clearly the find of a lifetime when Michael Webb and his son, also named Michael, discovered a huge gold chalice in a waterlogged bog in County Tipperary, Ireland.

But while they had permission to search the protected former site of an early Christian abbey in Killenaule, digging was banned.

They carried on regardless, unearthing the chalice, a bronze bowl, silver paten and hoop and a liturgical strainer dating back to the 10th to 12th centuries.

After hiding the 1980 find for three weeks they approached archaeologists.

Further excavations led to more treasures – and a £10,000 payout. But the Webbs went to court, wanting £5million.

The state offered a further £50,000 – and changed the law to give the nation ownership of all finds.

Ancient necklaces in a field near Stirling - worth £462,000

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Meanwhile David Booth found Iron Age necklaces in Stirling on his very first metal detecting outing

It was first time lucky for David Booth as he headed out with his new metal detector – and stumbled across four Iron Age necklaces.

Game warden David found the ancient jewellery, which dates from between 300BC and 100BC, hidden just six inches beneath the surface in a field near Stirling.

Under Scottish law, the Crown has the right to claim any find. However, a year after his 2009 discovery David, 36, was told he would be handsomely rewarded – with the promise of £462,000 from the National Museum of Scotland.

Astonishingly, he later went on to find an 800-year-old seal, which is also destined for a treasure trove reward.

Pure gold cross in a field in Nottinghamshire - worth £25,000

The everyday people who found their fortune in a field

This 18-carat gold cross, dating from the 7th century, was found in a field - and the proceeds were split between the finder and the landowner

An 18-carat gold cross, dating back to the 7th century and worth at least £25,000, was found beautifully preserved just 12 inches below the surface in a field in Nottinghamshire.

The anonymous amateur detectorist who found it ran excitedly to tell the farmer who owned the land. He had already unearthed a Saxon penny and beaten copper plate before probing deeper.

The 1,400-year-old bejewelled cross, discovered in 2008, was adorned with red gems and might have once held a religious relic.

It was quickly declared a treasure trove, meaning the proceeds of a sale would be split between the finder and the farmer who owned the land.

Iron Age jewellery in Staffordshire Moorlands

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Pals Joe Kania and Mark Hambleton found Iron Age jewellery, estimated to be 2,500 years old in Staffordshire

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Friends Joe Kania and Mark Hambleton were about to give up on their treasure quest when they picked up an interesting signal on their detectors last December.

The pair had abandoned a fishing trip for a last-minute treasure hunt on farmland in the Staffordshire Moorlands, where they'd had no luck decades earlier.

After pocketing a couple of Victorian coins they hit the jackpot – uncovering three Iron Age gold necklaces and a bracelet in the middle of a cow field.

The 2,500-year-old jewellery is thought to be the oldest ever found in Britain. It is believed likely to have been worn by wealthy Iron Age brides who hailed from continental Europe.

A coroner has formally declared the stash as treasure and the artefacts are set for valuation.

Their sale to a museum could soon leave Joe, 60, and Mark, 59 – and the owner of the land – rolling in it.

52,000 3rd century coins in Frome - worth £320,000

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Dave Crisp was rolling in it after finding more than 52,000 coins from the 3rd century in a field in Somerset

A chance search in a Somerset field revealed a mind-blowing stash of more than 52,000 coins dating back to the Carausian revolt.

The ancient riches, from the 3rd century, were located in a gigantic and heavy clay jar bearing the image of the Roman naval commander Carausius, who declared himself emperor over Britain and northern Gaul in 286AD.

The hoard was discovered in 2010 by detectorist Dave Crisp, 63, who initially found 21 coins before calling in archaeologists to excavate the site.

It was valued at £320,250, which the Museum of Somerset pledged to raise to secure the collection.

Bronze Age cup in Kent - worth £520,000

The everyday people who found their fortune in a field

A fascination with the early Anglo Saxon period paid off for amateur archaeologist Cliff Bradshaw when he uncovered a Bronze Age drinking vessel.

The retired electrician had unearthed several Anglo Saxon artefacts in close proximity and spent more than a year searching an area of the Kent countryside, convinced it was on a former Saxon settlement.

After scouring the land for ancient remains, Cliff literally struck gold in 2010 when he dug up the cup, dating to 1700-1500BC.

The British Museum paid £520,000 for the treasure, which was shared between Cliff and the landowner.

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