Treasure-hunter divers fined £60,000 for not reporting their finds
Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 3:02 PM - Found some sunken treasure? Better report it, or else face a massive fine.
That's if you're diving off the coast of the United Kingdom, where two divers were fined £60,000 ($110,000) on July 2 for not telling the government about their haul.
Edward Huzzey and David Knight, from Sandgate in Kent, pleaded guilty in May to not declaring their find within 28 days. The fine came down on Tuesday.
They'd been diving since 2001, hauling up such treasures as sunken German U-boat parts and artifacts from a 200-year-old East India Company ship.
All told, the items in question include eight bronze cannons, three German propellers, lead and tin ingots and other items. The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency says the total worth of those items comes to £250,000 ($460,000).
The Guardian reports the divers reported their haul to the government after seeing a news report of other divers who had been arrested for taking similar artifacts without declaring them. However, their admission was far past the law's 28-day limit.
"By reporting wreck material you are giving the rightful owner the opportunity to have their property returned and you may be adding important information to the historic record, the MCA's receiver of wreck, Alison Kentuck, said. "Legitimate finders are likely to be entitled to a salvage award, but those who don't declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing hefty fines."
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