Advanced Search

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Former police officer jailed for theft of rare coins


A former police officer who kept rare gold coins he found on a farmer's land was sentenced today (Mar 8) to 16 months' imprisonment for theft.

David Cockle, a former officer from Norfolk Police, had permission from a local landowner to use a metal detector, with an agreement that anything he found would be reported and surrendered.

At an earlier hearing, Ipswich Crown Court was told he found 10 'Merovingian Tremissis' gold coins from Gaul (France) dating back to the sixth or seventh centuries.

Instead of notifying the landowner and the proper authorities, Cockle sold the coins to a dealer for £15,000 and kept the money for himself. Eight of the 10 coins were later recovered by the police.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge gave Cockle a prison sentence and imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order to prevent him from engaging in metal detecting activity for five years.

Punam Malhan, from the CPS, said: "No matter how excited someone might be at finding buried gold treasure, there is a proper procedure to be followed when that happens. This is so that the find is correctly assessed and the historical importance of the find and its site recorded for future generations.

"This was a serious breach of trust by a police officer."


Notes to Editors

  1. Punam Malhan is Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS East of England.
  2. The CPS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with English Heritage, ACPO and Participating Local Authorities. This MOU defines the roles and responsibilities of all parties in the prevention, investigation, enforcement and prosecution of heritage crime in keeping with their respective aims. The MOU aims to foster closer and better working relationships between the signatories.
  3. The location where the coins were found is not identified to prevent any further illegal activity.
  4. All finds of treasure must be reported to the local coroner for the district in which they are found. More guidance on treasure, including what items are officially defined as treasure, can be found at
  5. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  6. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233