A treasure-hunter has discovered two extremely rare Viking silver coins near Newcastle in Co Down.

Brian Morton, 43, from Moneymore in Co Londonderry, has spoken about his exciting find in May.

A treasure inquest in Belfast has heard the discovery of the Hiberno-Manx silver coins are a first for Northern Ireland, with less than a handful found anywhere on the island of Ireland during the last four decades.

Mr Morton was searching on farmland with his metal detector but he said he had not been looking for anything specific.

“It was just a general place to go out. I was looking for a wee bit of history and this popped out.

“I had never seen anything like it.”

The coins were mainly circulated in the Isle of Man during the eleventh century and are 93% silver.

They were found under about 10cm of mud about 1.5m apart.

The court heard the coins could have ended up in the Co Down hinterland after being taken during a Viking raid on a nearby monastery at Maghera, or they could have been the result of a trade or strategic link with the Isle of Man and south-east Ulster.

Source: ITV News