Pen­sioner un­earths long lost trea­sure


A me­tal de­tec­tor might be just the se­cret weapon to boost your re­tire­ment sav­ings.

For the past few years, Porirua res­i­dent David Sut­cliffe, 65, has filled the X-Terra 305 given to him by his son with AA bat­ter­ies and combed the land in search of hid­den trea­sure.

His bounty has grown to about $3000 in coins, hand­fuls of rings, and a cou­ple of re­wards.

‘‘But any­thing re­ally valu­able, like di­a­monds, I’d hand it into the po­lice,’’ Sut­cliffe said.

He, and some­times his wife Pauline, spent count­less hours de­tect­ing in parks and on beaches, wait­ing for the in­stru­ment to make the right noise, then dig­ging down.

‘‘We went to Lyall Bay, to the beach. I saw a sign on the lamp­post: Lost. Sub­stan­tial re­ward. And a pic­ture of a bracelet.

‘‘So I did two hours from the north­ern end, right down to the south­ern end, but noth­ing.

‘‘I went to go back to the car, and saw the sign again, and go, ‘An­other half an hour?’ And the wife wasn’t very happy, she wanted to go home.

‘‘I did an­other half an hour, and just at the end I was mak­ing my way back to the car and, just be­fore I fin­ished, it beeped.

‘‘It was the bracelet: 18 carat [gold] and some sil­ver with a stone.’’

The owner handed over a $500 re­ward. ‘‘Pauline was go­ing on a cruise,’’ Sut­cliffe said. ‘‘Spend­ing money.’’

An­other time they stopped off in Shan­non to buy some chips.

‘‘I saw a park there so I got the ma­chine out, and thought I might get a few pen­nies, a few coins – picked up about four or five dol­lars. Then I saw a wal­let just un­der a seat.’’

It turned out the owner was vis­it­ing from Aus­tralia, and he gave them a $500 re­ward for re­turn­ing it.

‘‘Parks are bet­ter [than beaches]. More peo­ple con­gre­gate over a longer pe­riod of time.’’

There are plenty of keep­sakes for which Sut­cliffe has never found the own­ers, but he’s hold­ing on to them in the hopes of re­unit­ing them one day.

There is the en­graved ring ‘‘Dave and Vera’’ from a park in Para­pa­raumu. An­other from some re­strooms in Huntly, and some ster­ling sil­ver from Auck- land. There’s a coin from 1884, found at Ngati­toa Do­main in Porirua.

A po­lice spokes­woman said any­one find­ing prop­erty of value should take it to their lo­cal po­lice sta­tion.

If the item re­mained un­claimed af­ter a suf­fi­cient pe­riod of time, the finder could typ­i­cally keep it.

David Sut­cliffe with some of the coins he has found over the last few years, adding up to al­most $3000.


Un­cov­ered trea­sures.

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