Rookie metal detectorist's copper pipe discovery turns out to be guns, ammunition

2:08 pm on 23 May 2024
Metal detectorist finds guns in Wellington

Some of Dan O'Donnell's haul. Photo: Supplied / Dan Donnell

A Wellington man thought he was about to dig up an old copper pipe with his metal detector before finding two AK-74s and ammunition.

On Wednesday Dan O'Donnell was trying out a metal detector for the first time in the suburb of Berhampore when he detected a faint signal, so he started digging he told Midday Report.

"It got bigger and bigger as I got down deeper in the hole and my curiosity was definitely growing and I just thought I'd be digging up some old copper pipe."

O'Donnell said when he hit a bag that turned out contained the gun and ammunition, he thought it was a bit suspicious.

"To be honest I just had no idea what to expect - like it could have been some old rubbish."

Metal detectorist finds guns in Wellington

The items were buried deep in the ground. Photo: Supplied / Dan Donnell

He said the items were buried very deep and had tree roots growing over them, so it was clear they had been there a long time.

"When I fully uncovered it, I could see that there was newspaper on there dating to 1993 so it had been there for 30 years."

He called the police immediately but wasn't concerned due to the obvious age of the items.

Metal detectorist finds guns in Wellington

Photo: Supplied / Dan Donnell

O'Donnell said he posted the photos to a metal detecting group with people telling him it was "the find of a lifetime".

He said he would continue metal detecting but acknowledged his future finds might not be as exciting.

"The dream is to find a gold coin or something like that, something with a bit of historical significance but it's going to be a bit of a comedown from here I think."

Police have told O'Donnell that the guns are AK-74s.

Metal detectorist finds guns in Wellington

Photo: Supplied / Dan Donnell

According to Britannica, the AK-47, a Soviet assault rifle, is possibly the most widely used shoulder weapon in the world.

Almost from when it was officially adopted by the Soviet military in 1949, the AK-47 was recognised as being simple to operate, reliable under trying conditions, and amenable to mass production.

During the 1970s, the AK-74 was adopted. It adapted the basic Kalashnikov design and a later version, the AK-74M, was the main infantry weapon of the Russian army into the 21st century.

Police have told RNZ enquiries are being carried out and a forensic examination of the items will be conducted.

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