Pensioner charged after hoard of Viking coins found worth £1m found in police raid

A pensioner has been charged after a hoard of Viking coins worth almost £1million was found in a police raid.

Police raided two properties and found a hoard of Viking coins.

Roger Pilling, 73, is accused of conspiracy to convert criminal property along with Craig Best, 44.

Both men are also charged with possessing criminal property.

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Raids on the men’s properties in 2019 discovered rare coins and a solid silver ingot from the hoard from a Viking hoard and believed to be of major historical significance.

Durham Police said the haul contained coins of Alfred the Great of Wessex and his less well-known contemporary, Ceolwulf II of Mercia.

King Alfred inflicted a defeat on the Vikings in AD 878, and experts believe the coins belong to an undeclared hoard consistent with the location of the Viking army at that time.

Durham Police said the hoard is so important because it fills a gap in the understanding of history at this time.

Until now accounts have suggested Ceolwulf of Mercia as a “puppet” of the Vikings and a minor nobleman rather than a proper King.

However, the coins tell a very different historical story and show two rulers standing side by side as allies.

Anyone who discovers treasure or any large stash of valuable artefacts must report it to the local coroner within 14 days of its initial finding.

Failure to inform the authorities about the hoard could result in an unlimited fine or up to three months in prison.

Best, of Bishop Auckland, and Pilling, of Rossendae, Lancashire, will appear before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on September 7.