AN “UNBELIEVABLE” haul of hundreds of Roman coins, discovered in a North Yorkshire village, have been officially classed as treasure.

The haul of 455 coins, which date back to the fourth century, were found in a village near Kellington by a metal detector enthusiast from the local area, over the August Bank Holiday last year.

An inquest was held at Selby Magistrates’ Court to determine whether the find was treasure, and the finder, Stephen Hutchinson, gave evidence to the coroner, Rob Turnbull.

Mr Hutchinson said: “I’ve only been metal detecting for just over 12 months, and I went out as often as possible. I found the usual old pins and things like that, but this is the most significant thing I’ll ever find.

“I worked through one field and didn’t have much success, and my batteries went flat. So I decided to search in another field with new batteries and discovered the initial 28 coins. They were all on the surface and down to about 12 inches, but then I hit rock.”

Mr Hutchinson said that once he “discovered the magnitude of the find”, he phoned a fellow metal detector friend to come and help him.

He said: “We searched probably about 50 metres square, but all the coins themselves were within about five square metres. Judging by the condition of them, they had probably only recently been turned over by the plough. It was unbelievable.”

Mr Hutchinson and his friend, Brendan Griffin, worked on the site on and off for the following two weeks, and eventually unearthed 455 coins, which have been confirmed as dating from between 354 AD and 445AD.

Mr Turnbull classed the find as treasure. He said the items were currently being valued and interest had already been shown in the collection by the British Museum.