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Metal detectorist guards £100k hoard of silver for two sleepless nights amid ‘nighthawk’ fears

In order to protect the finds, Mr Mahoney has revealed how he spent two sleepless nights in his car on the field watching for “nighthawk” detectorists hoping to loot the coins under the cover of darkness.

Nighthawks, the term for illegal metal detectorists, have previously targeted numerous historic sites, including the Brunton Turret section of Hadrians Wall in their search for ancient artefacts.

Mr Mahoney feared the treasures he discovered would be sold onto the black market by unscrupulous dealers who would use the history of the coins to boost their prices online.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “I had to stay up because I didn’t want other people going into the fields and stealing the coins. I was getting an hour nap here and there for around two nights in a row.” 

“These nighthawks are professional thieves who make their living by waiting for detectorists to leave the fields and scavenge anything that is left over.” 

His anxieties seemed to be validated a few days ago when he found a casing from a headphone in the field, indicating someone had sneaked in to search for any remnants of the hoard.

Despite the threat from “nighthawks”, Mr Mahoney, who owns Joan Allen Electrics, a metal detecting shop in Kent, is encouraging more people to take up his beloved hobby.

He credits his success to the “unique” metal detector he was using, the Minelab Equinox 800, and thanks the owner of the Lindsey Rose Pub for allowing him to search around the premises.

Following the discovery of his “biggest hoard”, Mr Mahoney immediately contacted the local finds liaison officer, who is currently assessing the coins, and declared the treasure to the coroner.

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