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2 April 2004
Police seize ancient Scottish axe

A rare Neolithic axe head found in Fife, Scotland - as reported here on 14 March 2004 - has been seized by the police.
     Officers from Fife Constabulary raided the home of Michael Kelly and took away the 6500-year-old axe. Mr Kelly was charged with theft and is now awaiting a court summons. He had previously stated that he had reburied the axe where he found it, rather than hand it over.
     Under Scots law, newly-discovered ancient artefacts belong to the Crown, as there is no way of tracing the heirs of the original owner. It is then decided whether the object will be returned to the finder, or kept and given to a museum. In the case of the latter, a reward based on the market value is given.
     Mr Kelly said "I was totally surprised. They said they'd come for the axe and a search team might come and turn the place upside- down. I thought "I'm not wanting that", so I just gave them the axe. It was in my coat pocket, and they charged me with theft. . . . I found the axe, so I should have been paid for finding it."

Source: The Herald (31 March 2004)

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