As I understand it, the PAS was set up specifically to promote responsible
behaviour and recording by existing hobbyists in order to comply with
Valletta. There was no question of promoting or expanding the hobby on the
basis that it was inherently desirable. Yet PAS has an education section in
which children are invited to indulge in on-screen virtual detecting in
which a machine can be dragged across the screen until a satisfying beep is
emitted, indicating a find has been made. It is that beep, we are told by
detectorists, that is the central thrill of what they do.
It seems to me that for a public body to lean over backwards to create a
fresh generation of detectorists is totally beyond its statutory remit and
unconscionable. Liaison and education by all means. Promotion and
expansion – absolutely not. What on earth are they thinking of?