TWO metal detecting enthusiasts have found the largest hoard of coins ever discovered in Worcestershire.

Jethro Carpenter and Mark Gilmore were on Bredon Hill earlier this year when they hit an initially “spurious” signal underfoot.

Two hours of digging later, they had uncovered 3,784 coins and the shards of the broken pot they had been buried in.

Archaeologists who excavated the site shortly after the find have now uncovered a previously undiscovered Roman site of significant note, and say the hoard itself is of national importance.

Although the hoard has yet to be valued, it is thought to be worth thousands of pounds.

The British Museum’s treasure valuation committee is now working out how much the coins are worth.

Money paid for the coins will be split between the anonymous landowner and Mr Carpenter, who actually made the find in June.

He and Mr Gilmore have agreed to share his half.

The coins, some of which are five per cent silver, span a period of 244 to 282AD during the tumultuous later period of Britain’s occupation by the Roman Empire.

But they are unusual, as they were buried about a century after the date of the last coin which bears the face of the Emperor Probus (282AD).

Mr Carpenter, an agency refuse worker from Redditch, said he was very lucky, although he had also discovered a Saxon amulet in Lincolnshire in 2007.

“We didn’t expect to find much, but then I had this spurious signal,” he said.

“I dug down and found pieces of pottery and then pulled three coins out, stuck together – I realised then that it was a hoard.

“They were coming out by the handful.”

Mr Gilmore, a full-time carer for his nan and also from Redditch, said: “We call that field ‘the boring field’.

“We’ve been doing this years and never found more than the odd coin.

“But the grass was too long in the field we were going to look at, so we decided we would run the detectors over the other field.

“We sat in the car, had a can of beer, and took in the view listening to Elton John, then Jethro went off to look.

“Then he called me over, and we were soon pulling these coins out.

“We loaded them in my welly bag – it weighed two stone – and then put them in the car and took them home.”

The Worcestershire coroner is expected to declare the find as treasure.

As treasure, it will have a market value which Worcestershire County Museum will have four months to raise to keep the find in the county.

An exhibition at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum is running until Saturday, November 26.