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Guidance in circles case

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

ircles English Heritage

The archaeological community is looking for guidance from the case of a Mendip landowner into the penalty that may be imposed for damaging historic sites, a court was told.

Taunton Crown Court heard that Roger Maxwell Penny, 73, who admits destroying part of the Priddy Circles ancient earthworks, dating back to 3,000BC, would like to do what he can to put the damage right.

Mr Penny, of The Grange, Back Lane, Chewton Mendip, pleaded guilty at South Somerset Magistrates' Court in April to permitting work affecting a scheduled monument between April and October 2011 and the case was sent to the Crown Court because the maximum penalty they could impose was £5,000 and magistrates felt it was too serious for them to deal with. Mr Penny's barrister, Charles Row, suggested the hearing be adjourned for six-months for work to begin and to demonstrate what could be put right.

David Maunder, for English Heritage, said the matter should not be dealt-with on the defendant's terms and Recorder Jeremy Wright QC said it was one of a number of possibilities – ranging from doing nothing to doing all the work English Heritage required.

Mr Maunder proposed that the work be done or supervised using Mr Penny's resources "under the eye of English Heritage".

The judge said the simplest way was for Mr Penny to agree to permit English Heritage to enter his land for up to 18 months to carry out archaeological works to reinstate the area.

The hearing was adjourned to October 26.

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