A METAL detectorist has caused uproar within a close-knit seaside community after being caught on camera digging up a beloved beauty spot.

Residents living in Frinton have been left more than a little displeased after a treasure hunter was pictured searching for precious metals on Frinton's famous Greensward.

The picturesque space is considered a protected jewel within the town’s crown, so the sight of the Time Team wannabe hacking away at it has not gone down well.

James Ridge, 43, has lived in the area since he was six-years-old, and therefore understands the significance of the Greensward to Frinton residents.

He is also a metal detectorist himself, having taken it up as a hobby in March, but only ever operates on land he is permitted to search.

“If the guy had permission then fair enough, but when I inquired with Tendring Council about digging on public land I was clearly told: ‘No’,” he said.

“It is not right and the issue I have is people detecting without permission on any land give legitimate honest detectorists a bad name.


“Trying to get permission to detect on private land is difficult sometimes due to previous people being disrespectful to the land or detecting illegally.

“But the metal detecting community as a whole is a great friendly community and the majority are law-abiding and respectful.

“Unless he had a special permit he was breaking the law - there does need to be some form of deterrent, so maybe a fine.”

The latest concerns over the unprohibited use of the Greensward come just shy of a year after an ice cream vendor caused outrage after pitching up on the prize spot.


Terry Allen, Frinton and Walton Town Council chairman and Tendring councillor, has now vowed to come down hard on anyone caught metal detecting on the Greensward.

He said: “If it was someone looking for someone’s ring or a precious item they had lost then I would not have an objection to it.

“But if they were doing it speculatively then it’s a big no and we will be slamming down on this straight away.

“He must have known that he could not metal detect there – the Greensward is important to the people of Frinton.

“Council enforcement officers can now give out penalty notices so what these people think is just fun could turn into a very expensive hobby.

“It is up to residents to report this behaviour straight away.”