POLICE have issued a warning over so-called 'nighthawking' following reports of metal detectorists digging illegally at a Dorset heritage site.

The 'heritage crime' reportedly took place at Castle Hill in Shaftesbury, north Dorset - and police have warned that the offence could result in a prison sentence.

A spokesman for North Dorset Police said: "As you know Dorset is full of history however you cannot just dig it up. Report of heritage crime in Shaftesbury with metal detectorists digging up areas of Castle Hill.

"Often termed 'nighthawking' - permission is required from landowner, or in case of scheduled monuments, the secretary of state for culture.

"Finds need to be declared, breaches can result in a fine or prison. Any info please quote 55200070682."