Fortune hunters and hobbyists have found dozens of buried treasure troves in Worcestershire since records began seven years ago, figures reveal.

The British Museum says the scale of artefacts unearthed across the country exceeds expectations, with reported finds showing “little sign of dipping anytime soon.”

Gold diggers, metal detectorists and mudlarks made eight discoveries in Worcestershire last year, statistics from the Museum and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport show.

In February, the Worcester News reported that a team of metal detectorists found a hoard of rare 17th-century coins in a field near Malvern.

The diggers, from a group called KC Rallys, were scouring the field for artifacts when Garry Williams alerted his companions to his discovery of 51 silver shillings and sixpences depicting William III and dating back to 1697.

Overall, 76 discoveries were reported since records started in 2012.

The Treasure Act defines treasure as finds older than 300 years.

These include coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10 per cent precious metals such as gold or silver.

Anyone who thinks they have struck a hidden hoard has to tell the coroner within two weeks, so the court can hold an inquest to decide who gets the loot.

If they don’t, they face an unlimited fine or up to three months behind bars.

Last month, the Worcester News reported that two detectorists had gone on trial at the city’s crown court in charges of failing to report Anglo-Saxon treasures worth up to £3 million they found in a north Herefordshire field.

Local and national museums are given the chance to purchase any pieces a coroner rules as treasure.

But the finder doesn’t leave empty-handed. They will be paid a sum depending on the haul’s value.

Last year, 1,096 treasure troves were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 265 of which came from the West Midlands.

Metal detecting was the best way to unearth lost treasure, according to the figures.

The devices tracked down 96 per cent of finds in 2017, the most recent year with details on how the objects were discovered.

A further three per cent were archaeological finds and seven from field walking or scouring streams and shores.