An amateur metal detectorist has been thanked after recovering thousands of pounds worth of stolen ancient treasure on his first ever hunt.
Charles Cartwright was using his new tool in Polfields Coppice in Doddenham, Worcestershire, when he found the hoard.
It contained Roman and Viking jewellery and ancient Egyptian relics, as well as medieval and Bronze Age pieces.
The items were found to have been buried four years earlier after being stolen in a burglary from a home in Ludlow, Shropshire, around 45 minutes away by car.
After he reported the find to the landowner and the coroner’s office, the loot was traced back to the rightful owners.
Mr Cartwright said: “I have so many questions in relation to these items and can’t wait to speak to the owner. I can’t believe this is my first time out with the metal detector, to find such an amazing find is just incredible.”
He added: “You always hear stories like this, but you never get to be a part of one. So, it is exciting to be part of such a happy conclusion.”
The owner of the relics, who has not been named, said: “I really don’t know what to say. I am so pleased to get these items back, we had resigned ourselves that we wouldn’t get them back as they had been gone that long, you just don’t even think about them being returned anymore.”
DC Tom Court, of West Mercia Police, said officers were still investigating the 2017 theft, and thanked Mr Cartwright for his efforts.
He said: “The metal detecting community have helped to reunite the rightful owners with the Roman and Viking jewellery and other treasure items. We will continue to investigate who took these items and buried them.
“We are exceptionally pleased to be able to return the items to the rightful owner and once again thank Charles for finding and reporting them promptly.”