A pair of British metal detectorists who found a Viking treasure hoard have been convicted of stealing £3m of coins.

George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, were found guilty today at Worcester Crown Court of failing to declare the "invaluable" haul.

Prosecutors said the items - many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard - were dug up on farmland in Herefordshire on June 2, 2015.

Among the priceless items found was a ninth-century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant from the fifth century and up to 300 coins, some dating back to the reign of King Alfred.

Powell and Davies were convicted alongside two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, with conspiring to conceal the find.

Some of the 1,000-year-old coins dug up by the pair in a field in Herefordshire
Some of the 1,000-year-old coins dug up by the pair in a field in Herefordshire

The court head that just 31 coins have been recovered, but mobile phone pictures the pair tried to delete showed the larger hoard, still intact, in a freshly dug hole.

Five of the coins found are examples of an incredibly rare Two Emperors penny, valued at up to £50,000 apiece.

They are so-called as they show King Alfred and the lesser-known monarch Ceolwulf II, who reigned in Mercia, sitting together.

Expert analysis of all of the jewellery and coins recovered to date and now held at the British Museum give a value of at least £581,000.

George Powell was convicted at Worcester Crown Court today
George Powell was convicted at Worcester Crown Court today

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