AN AMATEUR fossil-hunter could be fined up to 150,000 euros, after being caught red-handed stealing ancient remains in Elche.

Local Guardia Civil caught the man in the Sierra Larga mountains above the city carrying out “paleontological actions” that lacked the relevant permits.

Elche Illegal Dig

He was using hand tools to steal archaeological remains, with police finding 19 already stashed in his belongings.

He now faces fines against Valencian Cultural Heritage Law that can be anything between 60,000 and 150,000 euros.

Guardia initially found two large shell fossils in his backpack and then another 17 other fossilised shells in his car, all of which were considered non-inventoried cultural heritage assets.

They also found a small hammer-pick and a pliers metallic, when he was discovered on March 27.

The Department of Culture considered the items, “cultural goods not catalogued [and] with paleontological value”, confirming the protagonist lacked the appropriate permits for his actions. Their sanctions range up to 150,000 euros depending on the gravity of the offense.

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