Norfolk policeman dismissed for cheating farmer out of proceeds of £15,000 haul of gold coins found in field

A Norfolk police officer has been dismissed after admitting the theft of gold coins. PHOTO: Denise B

A Norfolk police officer has been dismissed after admitting the theft of gold coins. PHOTO: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk policeman who found a £15,000 haul of historic gold coins with his metal detector has been sacked for cheating the landowner out of a share of the treasure.

PC David Cockle, who was living in Wereham near Downham Market at the time, had a contract allowing to go metal detecting on the landowner’s fields in return for splitting the proceeds of anything he unearthed.

But he did not keep to the deal after digging up 10 Merovingian Tremissis coins dating back to the 7th century.

He sold the French coins to a dealer and kept the profits.

Cockle last month admitted theft and keeping the proceeds of the sale of coins found in the Norfolk field.

The officer has been dismissed following a misconduct hearing.

A force spokesman said: “We can confirm PC David Cockle has been dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing on Monday, February 20.

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“The highest level of personal and professional behaviour should be demonstrated by those serving with us to ensure the public have confidence in their police force. Having been found guilty of theft last month, the behaviour of the officer was found to fall below the high standards expected.”

The hearing was told Cockle had agreed to a 50:50 split with the farmer of anything valuable he found.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said it “was one of the grossest breaches of trust”.

Mr Bailey said it was clear Cockle was allowed to use the land to search for treasure “because he was a police officer and the farmer liked the idea of a police officer on his land”.

The hearing was told the breaches amounted to gross misconduct with the only appropriate outcome being immediate dismissal.

The PC, who did not attend the hearing, expressed his remorse in a written statement presented by the Police Federation.

Cockle, 51, who now lives in Leigh, Lancashire, will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court next month after criminal proceedings were brought against him by the force.

As well as admitting theft, Cockle faced three counts of handling criminal property.