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Article about: Hey all, new to the forums so hello to everyone. Me and my dad are planning a trip to metal detect for WW1 and WW2 relics. I know the laws are strict and vary heavily from area to area. But

  1. #1
    Bryan Davidson

    Default Finding a site.

    Hey all, new to the forums so hello to everyone. Me and my dad are planning a trip to metal detect for WW1 and WW2 relics. I know the laws are strict and vary heavily from area to area. But I was wondering what is a country where it's legal to detect without encountering any issues? I'm not wanting to break the law without the intention to do so.


  2. #2


    Laws regarding this is differnet for the whole world. It would have been a good idea to mention to which country you want to work on. If you aint sure, then also check out if it is legal to take out items from the country.
    I would try one of the Baltic countries if i were you.

    Good Luck

    And do remember your treasure hunt can easily turn you both into meat piecese in the fraction of a second if you find explosives. I have found live tellermines and 500kgs sea mines myself. So please please be careful.

  3. #3
    Bryan Davidson


    Not sure on the location yet. We are in the UK so Europe for sure. I know France, Germany and Belgium have very strict laws... other than that I don't know where to go.

  4. #4


    I wonder if member "INKA" know something about this. He is always on detector trips in Norway or Northern parts of Finland and Russia.. He knows alot about this- way more then me.
    Send him an quick PM and ask. Maybe he can take you along to the old battlefields if you are willing to pay the expences, and if he has time to spare.

  5. #5


    Hi Bryan
    this may be a bit late, but I only just came across your post.
    I detect a lot in France, and have many finds (I will be posting on here shortly, some pics of these as I also need help in some identification from other members).
    Here are some general tips and my observations/experiences which may help you. These are my personal views and may not be totally 'correct', so you have to interpret as you like.
    I have done quite literally hundreds of hours digging and detecting around France. Mostly Northern, as in Normandy from coastal up to say 50 miles inland. Also south as in Biarritz down to spanish border.
    You may find that it is almost impossible to obtain formal permission in most cases, for several reasons (and not because it was a 'no'). Therefore in all my digs I have never actually had prior permission. Although I have spoken to landowners and had French police talk to me a couple of times, everything has been fine with no problems.
    So here goes on some pointers.
    When going into fields: avoid when crops are sown. If you can gain access without damaging anything fine, if access means breaking or damaging ANYTHING, then go elsewhere. Never go into fields where there are horses or livestock. Always go around the edges of the field to start with. I have on many occasions been doing this when the farmer/owner has turned up and I explain that I am just going along the hedges and not across his land and would he mind if I DID actually do the field. I have always had a 'yes' in these circumstances, with the provision that all holes are filled. I find that French farmers are very friendly and understanding if you follow a few basic common sense rules: Go detecting alone, no-one wants a gang of people mooching over their land. Always be polite and genuinly humble. Try at least to be able to speak a bit of local language, always be prepared to apologise and make sure its in local language. Keep a few beers or bottle of red wine in your vehicle to offer your friendly host. If you have offended someone, never argue, the owner is ALWAYS right, be apologetic , thank them for their fairness (after all they could have called the police) and shake hands then leave if thats what they are expecting. On subject of police: they really are not bothered if you follow the previous advice. They have a job to do and they must be seen to be doing this. WW2 sites are usually not of much concern. However, it is a different story if you are on or anywhere near a sight of historical interest. Stay away. The French police (I have found) are different to the British in that they will talk to you as an equal and adopt a common sense approach. With British police (like most laws here, its by the book) The French in general are fine with what would normally be termed as trespassing here in England, and take a more relaxed view of certain laws, an attitude which I really like and respect. French landowners are more concerned about illegal hunting, and travellers (Gypsies) than 1 guy out with a detector. Never detect at night. Pretty obvious really but it just looks underhand and sneaky.
    I Have never had written permission, only a verbal 'yes' when I have actually spoken with landowners. On both occasions when I spoke to police, they like to see this in writing, after all you could be lying. Farmers although quite happy to give you a nod are really not going to want to be bothered about the hassle of writing you a note. Simply explain to any officer that 'Monsieur Le Grand (or whoever it was you spoke to) has said its okay as long as you fill in all holes and take away any rubbish you find' This has worked for me.
    I generally remove the rubbish I may have detected as long as its not too big, you know odd cans, small bits of steel etc. It's polite, but its also a bit of an insurance. Say a police officer or the farmer approaches you on land (where you may not have got permission) they will inevitably want to see what you have dug up. Removing rubbish along with any finds is just polite and shows you are responsible in your detecting and may well get you a more favourable response should you be in a sticky situation. I hope that this is of some help, as I say, its worked for me in France. A different country, a bad attitude or arrogance on your part and it maybe wouldnt. I have had a lot of luck, both in my finds, and in not being 'done', during my detecting, I wish this for you, also. Bon Chance, as they say in France.
    Regards, Francis

  6. #6


    There is laws in France, Heritage code articles L. 542-1 to L. 542-3.

    French Army is digging in Normandy searching material from the war.
    The best Militaria forum in France is here : http://deutsch-militaria.forumactif.us/

  7. #7


    Hi Lebus12.
    Yes, but Normandy is a BIG place. I think there is still plenty to find for everyone, if they take the time to do research, and take even more time to get out and go exploring. :-)

  8. #8


    And French laws?
    The best Militaria forum in France is here : http://deutsch-militaria.forumactif.us/

  9. #9


    The best Militaria forum in France is here : http://deutsch-militaria.forumactif.us/

  10. #10


    The Law is the Law as far as I am concerned.

    I do not condone illegal activity, nor does the forum.

    You are sailing very close to the wind here Francis. Saying common sense attitude etc is one thing. But that is NOT what French law says.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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