'Nighthawkers' have damaged two maize fields near Dorchester.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward following the criminal damage to farmland near Dorchester.

The damage is believed to have been caused by so called ‘nighthawkers’.

Nighthawking is the theft of archaeological artifacts from land under the cover of darkness.

Metal detectors are commonly used by trespassers.

Over the weekend of Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, two maize fields in the West Knighton area were damaged when a trespasser or trespassers dug up holes, damaging crops.

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Police Constable Paul Miners, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: “We are carrying out enquiries into this incident and I would like to hear from anyone who has noticed suspicious activity with metal detectors in the area.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at dorset.police.uk/contact, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55220073961.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling Freephone 0800 555 111.