THE founder of a metal detecting group has received global attention after a colleague found ancient coins worth more than £1m.

The 5,000 silver coins were found in a Buckinghamshire field by Paul Coleman, a member of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club, run by North Warnborough man Peter Welch.

Some of the coins are thought to date back more than 1,000 years and feature the faces of Anglo Saxon and Viking kings.

Since the find on Sunday, December 21, Mr Welch, 56, has appeared on television and radio programmes of national and international media news organisations.

He told The Gazette: “I did an interview with an Australian radio station last Sunday night and the story has been on French, Nigerian and American TV.

“I’ve also had Sky, the BBC and ITV at my house – I think it got the neighbours talking.”

Mr Welch was on the site with his wife Sarah, who is also a member of the group founded 23 years ago, when Mr Coleman, from Southampton, came across the coins.

Mr Welch said it was only when an archaeologist removed a leather covering that members realised the significance of the find.

He added: “It was amazing. It was layer on layer of coins and they were really clean.

“Normally when you find ancient coins, they become dirty but these were shiny.”

A Bucks County Museum spokesman said: “This is one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain. When the coins have been properly identified and dated, we may be able to guess at why such a great treasure was buried.”

He added that as the coins are precious metal over 300 years old they fall within the remit of the Treasure Act.

The coins will now be taken to the British Museum for conservation and identification before a coroner will decide whether they are legally treasure.

A museum will then be able to bid for the coins with the money from the sale being split between the land owner and the individual who made the discovery.