Detectorist dubbed Lord of the Rings after reuniting 80 people with missing jewellery

By BNPS & Neil Shaw

Metal detectorist Darren Wiles has been dubbed the Lord of the Rings after reuniting more than 80 people with their lost jewellery.

Darren has totted up 85 successful finds so far, locating missing engagement and wedding rings, necklaces and car keys often lost in the sea.

He has even found someone's mobile phone that still worked after a week underwater.

Darren at work (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

The 49-year-old software salesman gives up his free time to hunt for people's lost treasures and said he does it for that feel-good moment when he hands back precious belongings.

Darren took up metal detecting in 2009 but it has only been in the last three years that he has received requests for help. Together with Aaron Le Arn and John Rodwell, he runs the Bournemouth Metal Detecting Service and so far they have helped about 160 people so far.

A ring found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

Darren said: "I do it because I love it. That's why I do it for free - the reaction from people when you reunite them with their lost things, you can't buy that. It's just great to be able to help them.

"I do have a full-time job and it can be hard fitting around that. I think sometimes people think we just rock up and find things straight away. "That does happen sometimes, but most of the time it can take hours and hours, days to find things. It can mean heading out at 4am when it's a beach job because I have to work around the tide times.

A ring found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

"Most of the missing items are jewellery but I've also found keys, mobile phones. "I'm counting down to my 100th find now. It's my passion.

"Reuniting people with things they've lost, it's not about the cost of the items, it's about the sentimental value of them." Among Darren's happy customers are David Mold from Sway, Hants, who lost his specially-made wedding ring in the sea and most recently a couple from Canterbury in Kent who lost an engagement ring at Sandbanks beach.

A cross and a ring found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

Tracy Lock's daughter Ella lost a sentimental ring on a morning sea swim in Bournemouth. Ella, aged 10, put her ring with her clothes because she was worried about losing it in the sea but forget about it afterwards as she got dressed.

Mrs Lock, 42, said: "After I dropped her off at school I went back to the beach and spent about an hour wading through the sand with my hands but I couldn't find it.

A ring found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

"I put a post up on our local Facebook group just saying if anyone found it could they please let me know and someone suggested contacting Bournemouth Metal Detecting Service.

"Darren got in touch straight away and asked about where we had lost it and said he would try to go down the next day.

A pendant found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

"But he called about 5pm that afternoon asking for our address and then said 'because I've got your ring in my hand'. We just screamed down the phone, we honestly thought that was it, it was gone.

A phone found by Darren (Darren Wiles/BNPS)

"He's just fantastic and it's nice to know there are genuine lovely people in the world. We offered him some money but he wouldn't take it. "He deserves all the recognition he can get."

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