Heritage crime

What is heritage crime?

Heritage crime is "any offence which harms the value of England's heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations".

Heritage assets are sites which are considered to have a value to the heritage of England and include:

  • Listed buildings
  • Scheduled monuments
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Protected marine wreck sites
  • Conservation areas
  • Registered parks and gardens
  • Registered battlefields
  • Protected military remains of aircraft and vessels of historic interest
  • Undesignated but acknowledged heritage buildings and sites

Crimes against heritage sites might also include theft, criminal damage, arson and anti-social behaviour.

If you own or live near a heritage site

Many land owners have ancient monuments and archaeological areas within or near to their property.   

You cannot carry out work on a scheduled monument without the consent of English Heritage or your Local Authority Conservation Department.

Visit the Historic England website to find more information on preventative measures for a heritage site.

Metal theft

Old buildings, in particular churches, are often a target for metal thieves.

See our Metal Theft page for more help and advice on how to prevent your premises being targeted by thieves.

Metal detectorists

Although the vast majority of metal detectorists are law abiding, it is important to remember the following points:

You should only detect and search for objects on land where you have the landowner’s permission.

A landowner cannot give permission for a person to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument.

Metal detecting in a specified location without consent could amount to theft.

Illegal detecting at night is sometimes referred to as “Night Hawking”

Report it

If you see or suspect theft or criminal damage involving a scheduled monument or an archaeological area, please report it to us. Call us on 101 or report it online.  Call 999 in an emergency.

More help and support

Historic England

29 Jun 21 11:44 AM

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