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Monday, 16 April, 2001, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Divers give up U-boat loo
Diver explores sunken U-boat
Divers are legally required to report every find
A toilet from a German U-boat is among the "treasures" handed over during a one-off amnesty for unregistered shipwreck finds.

For a limited period, divers and beachcombers are able to surrender artefacts to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency without risking prosecution.

The three-month period of grace has led to a raft of unusual items such as chamber pots and bells from sunken ships.

The finds, which it is a legal requirement to report, can also be dangerous - many shell cases, bullets and other ammunition have been found in UK waters.

But the Receiver of Wreck, Veronica Robbins, is keen to point out that the amnesty, believed to be a global first, ends on 24 April.

She said: "The amnesty has been a great success so far and we have had lots of positive feedback. In general, finders have welcomed the chance to put the record straight.

Pieces of eight

"The material reported ranges from the 'obligatory' porthole to cannon and shot, several pieces of eight and a Charles I gold coin.

"We have even had a German U-boat toilet."

The agency has received up to 70 reports a day from people, mainly scuba divers but also fishermen, museums and antique dealers worried they had undeclared wreck for sale.

The receiver investigates whether the wreck has an owner and if the items are not claimed after one year, they generally stay with the finder.

Important historical or archaeological finds are often placed in museums.

Shipping minister Keith Hill announced the amnesty in January for any items found in UK waters.

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31 Aug 00 | Wales
Treasures beneath the sands
01 Mar 00 | Wales
Treasure sold on internet
25 Sep 99 | Scotland
A modern-day tale of Whisky Galore
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