Nighthawking in Willingdon

Sussex Police have received reports of digging next to the memorial of the B24 Liberator at Butts Brow, Willingdon, Eastbourne. The digging (pictured) is consistent with Illicit metal detecting, known as 'Nighthawking'.

The force's Heritage Crime Officer, PCSO Daryl Holter, said “Nighthawking is a shady unscrupulous act and when carried out in an area such as this it is deplorable and shows a complete lack of respect”.

“The site of the memorial is protected by The Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 and any contravention of this will be fully investigated”.

Eastbourne Borough Council does not give anyone permission to use a metal detector on their property. The downland is rich in its history and is abundant in its heritage assets, so these sites are protected in law.

Eastbourne Borough Council Heritage Manager Jo Seaman said “Any illegal metal detecting is an act of destruction of our collective heritage for the benefit of personal gain, but to desecrate a site where these brave young airmen lost their lives for some sort of trophy hunting is beyond belief. “

If you have any information please email quoting serial 723 of 07/11)

You can also report online to or call 101.

Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (

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