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Treasure hunter strikes gold at Westward Ho!

PUBLISHED: 09:36 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:36 19 March 2014

The gold nugget is thought to be the second largest found on UK shores.

The gold nugget is thought to be the second largest found on UK shores.

Archant

North Devon metal detector Merlin unearths ‘second largest’ gold nugget found in Britain.

Merlin discovered the gold nugget while wading in Westward Ho!Merlin discovered the gold nugget while wading in Westward Ho!

A NORTH Devon treasure hunter has struck gold after discovering what is thought to be the second largest golden nugget ever to be found in Britain.

Merlin Cadogan, 40, from Northam, believes the lump of gold-coloured metal unearthed on Westward Ho! beach, could be worth around £1,000, writes Sarah Howells.

He made the discovery while wading in the Sandy Gut area a week last Monday (March 10) – and chemical tests on the 37.7g find indicate it is at least 18 carat gold.

Merlin, who spends around four hours a day detecting, said: “The detector went off and I was digging for ages – I was about to give up and thought I’d have one more go.

“I dug the scoop in and could hear something clunking around when I shook it – when I saw the sparkle of gold I couldn’t believe it.”

The escapologist, who is well known for his television appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, is unsure if the discovery is a gold nugget or smelted gold.

“I have never heard of anything like it before, and from my research I believe it’s the second largest golden nugget ever to be found in the UK,” he said.

“It could be part of a gold bullion, something that has come from a shipwreck or gold which has been smelted down.”

Merlin has discovered a range of items on North Devon beaches since the high spring tides, including gold rings and hundreds of old coins.

He added: “The high tides pushed the sand back which made it a lot easier to detect, but now it’s starting to come back in whatever else may be there has been completely buried.”

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