A MAN who found a gold coin in Trefeglwys appeared in court for failing to notify the coroner and keeping the profits for himself.

Anyone who finds an object defined as treasure must inform the coroner of the district. The treasure is handed over to a museum and following an inquest, its value is paid as a reward to the finder and possibly, the landowner.

Welshpool Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday that Tom Martin Fielding, 32, of Elsenham Road, Grimsby, failed to notify the coroner and fraudulently sold the coin for £850 in Bishops Castle. He admitted these two charges, as well as breaching a community order.

The court heard that Fielding runs a group called the Shropshire and Wales Metal Detecting Club and that on a search, three gold coins were found, two dating back to James I and one to Charles I. Fielding was prosecuted over a James I laurel coin from 1624.

Stephen Davies, prosecuting, said that when Fielding went into the office of the find liaison officer with three silver coins, when he said that he would attend again to declare the gold coin.

Mr Davies said that Graham Wood, who was on the search, said the find was “quite an event”. “The news was quite big in the Mid Wales area and was published in The Searcher magazine.”

Mr Davies said Fielding sold the coin to Michael Clarke in Bishops Castle, and then it was sold on eBay.

Paul Inns, defending, said the three gold coins were found by three individuals, but that one of those people tried to be discrete about his find.

This was the coin Fielding obtained. Mr Inns said Fielding had the “intention to follow the rules” as he showed the find liaison officer a picture of the coin.

The court heard that he decided to be “dishonest” as he was struggling to pay his bills, and as more people turned up for the search than expected, he needed to pay the landowner more money.

On the two charges relating to the gold coin, Fielding was given a 12-month community order, with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days, addressing thinking skills, and 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also told to pay £850 in compensation. For the community order breach, he was given a £50 fine and court costs of £30.