A hoard of 33 rare Roman coins has been found in a field near Hebden.

Colne man Mick Wilson, who had been metal detecting with his friend Colin Binns, of Skipton, made the startling discovery on May 29, 2011.

The 33 silver Roman dinari, dating from 30AD to 170AD, were found nine inches below the ground’s surface.

Now Mr Wilson has been designated as the finder of the treasure by coroner Robert Turnbull during an inquest in Skipton.

“I do a lot of detecting in the Yorkshire Dales,” said Mr Wilson, who has been metal detecting since 1981. “Colin and I have been doing this for a long time, and although we always find something, this was my best find ever.”

Mr Wilson, who works as a polytunnel manufacturer, said the hoard of coins, which is currently being valued by the British Museum, could be worth between £3,000 and £5,000.

Mr Binns said: “It’s likely that it was buried there for safekeeping by a legionnaire. Many of these men would have settled here after they finished in the Roman army.”

In the past, Mr Wilson has found axeheads and spearheads dating from the Bronze Age, Roman brooches and a solid silver Roman eagle, which was valued at £1,675.

Mr Wilson said he recorded all of his finds with the Liverpool Museum and Craven Museum had shown an interest in displaying the 33 Roman coins.

“I just love the history and finding things that are over 1,000 years old,” said Mr Wilson. “I also love the scenery of the Dales and I know a lot of the farmers.”

He said if he made a valuable discovery, half of the proceeds from the sale of the “treasure” went to the farmer and he and Mr Binns split the other half.

“A lot of people call us treasure hunters, but many people never find a treasure. However, I do know people who have found items valued from £20,000 to £1 million. But you have more chances of winning the lottery than making such a find.”