A METAL detector fanatic has opened up his treasure trove of artefacts following the completion of his new book, Memoirs of a Treasure Hunter.

Thomas Smith, 82, found a hoard comprising axes and spearheads in Usk in the late Eighties and Victorian coins in Barrack Hill in 1985 during a career spanning four decades.

Ten years ago, the Cwmbran treasure hunter donated 200 coins and Roman artefacts he had discovered at an iron age smelting site to Hereford Museum.

He came to the attention of archaeologists and he has been featured in numerous publications, including the Argus.

In 1999, Mr Smith published his first book, a biography of his childhood entitled Snakes and Ladders with the Book Guild publishing house.

The biography covered the period he was relocated from London to Newport during the Second World War up to his early twenties.

Now, he has written up a second tome shedding light on his treasure-hunting career.

Mr Smith, of Waterside Court, Abbey Road, said: “I’ve always been interested in history.

“I thought I would like some of that. I got a metal detector and I got very, very lucky.”

The new book is to feature illustrations of finds such as the Queen Victoria half sovereigns he discovered in Barrack Hill, bronze axes and spearheads in Usk in the late Eighties, Roman broaches and items donated to Hereford Museum.

The great grandfather still goes on treasure hunts on Sundays.

He has recently found coins in Pontypool and six Roman coins at an iron age smelting site in Hereford last year.

Most treasures are discovered within six inches of the surface but he believes it is becoming increasingly difficult to find valuables.

He said: “I love it. I still get out for a couple of hours on Sundays.

“I still go back to Hereford. It’s been flogged to death but I really love it up there.”