Author Topic: stalactites for sale  (Read 38292 times)

Offline mike barnes

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #50 on: September 29, 2006, 04:18:44 pm »
I have only just noticed this thread and with it's sad implications now coming to light, I appeal to the moderator to do something. Hopefully, all readers will be becoming aware of much deliberate damage to cave stall in several well known caves, see my recent thread 'damage to stall in several caves' in the general caving section, and also 'dickheads in swildons' in the Mendip one. Much beautiful stall has been smashed and sawn off. For Gods sake, publishing the prices on the internet what stall is selling for is creating a milder form of the California Gold rush. It may only be a few quid, despite of course the intrinsic value being priceless, irreplacable, but history teaches us that there will ALWAYS be people who will exploit ANY situation. The tragedy is, this thread, however well intentioned, may well have started a ball rolling which is now steadily de-nuding the stall from the very caves we love. PLEASE Mr Moderator, act now and remove this intire thread, or at the very least the prices which some correspondants have published here. Of course I appreaciate thart many more people look at e-bay than this web-site where stall prices can be seen, but it can only do harm if the wrong person reads it. In the mean time, I will crusade to remove such items from the e-bay web-site.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #51 on: September 29, 2006, 05:31:34 pm »
Do not remove this thread; it serves a purpose. The crap prices which stal get on Ebay if anything reinforce the pointlessness of people selling such items whether or not they are legitimately gained or illegally harvested; also, the sort of people likely to sell cave formations are not going to be swayed by what they read here nor are any people sufficiently interested in caves to bother themselves with this forum or thread likely to suddenly decide to go to the bother of vandalising a site specifically to potentially end up earning themselves £4.99. Please read the thread in its entirety, Mike, and you'll see that it's where the Ebay watchers post info on what's being offered, by whom and for how much it sold (if indeed it ended up being sold at all) and the correspondence/approaches made to those vendors. If you wish to pursue this matter please feel free to make (another) approach to BCA so that they put together a robust case to Ebay management to impose a policy of veto against such trades taking place on their site (as is the case in USA).

Offline AndyF

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #52 on: September 29, 2006, 06:31:26 pm »
Yes, keep the thread going.

How can a concensus on action be reached if we are banned from discussing it. Not debating this will not make it go away. Publishing the price is importnat, as action will be different if it were £5 rather than £500. A sensible debate needs the facts, times, values, locations and perpetrators.

I don't believe anyone of this forum is going to rush out with a hammer, inspired with the hope of making £5 on e-bay.
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Offline Greg Jones

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #53 on: September 29, 2006, 09:30:00 pm »
Unfortunately Mike (Barnes) this forum is not making the problem worse, but is a very small part of the cause of the problem, which is the internet as a whole in my opinion.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to visit a cave you had to be very proactive in order to do so. You had to buy a guidebook in order to find out where the caves were, or join a Club. You had to acquire a lamp from somewhere.

Today the locations of many of our finest (and not so fine) caves are recorded on hundreds, if not thousands of websites. There are photographs of some of the most beautiful formations, together with directions to their locations underground. The internet has made this information available to anyone with a computer

So now any twat who wants a bit of stal doesn't have to do much surfing to find out where he can get some. Then all he needs is a £5 headtorch off Ebay and he's away. Publicising the prices that the twat gets for the stal on this forum will certainly not encourage anyone to go and get some.

If we want to stop this then the only answer in the short term, in my opinion, is to gate every cave with any stal of note in it. But we all know what a lot of people will say to this suggestion don't we? As I have said before on another thread, we could campaign for some legislation giving calcite the same sort of protection as ivory, but in the time it would take to happen, the stal hunters could strip every cave of it's stal. The quarrying industry would never let it happen anyway.

No; it will have to be gates!
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Offline martinr

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2006, 10:07:42 pm »

I don't believe anyone of this forum is going to rush out with a hammer, inspired with the hope of making £5 on e-bay.

Especially when the said item attracted no bids and was unold

« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 10:19:13 pm by martinr »

Offline mike barnes

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #55 on: October 02, 2006, 10:30:58 am »
Well, I thought my suggestion might be controversial. Whilst I read this thread in it's entirity, I have never looked at the e-bay site. I have my suspisions as to what sort of person is responsible for the current wave of damage. Beer, joints, a few quid to be made for beer money, young people, probably cavers with a little bit of experience. It seems to me there can only be 1 group of people who fit these criteria. The poor student. I can hear the screams of indignation now. I'm not castigating all students, of course not. But a few undiserable elements of the college fraternity would fit the bill as the most likely suspects. If one were to investigate all college clubs in the south of the uk, I expect one would find the 'Andy' and 'Ian' we would all like to meet. Is it not possible this problem of stall removal has escalated because of this thread. Afterall, if computers were around in my college days, I'm sure I would have browsed sites such as this one. Some of the responses to my previous comments surprise me. When I was a student, it makes me cringe now to think how poor I was. If I thought I could have got a fiver for a bit of stall, which surely nobody would notice anyway, I hate to think I may have been tempted myself. £5 is only 'pointless' if you've money in your pocket to start with And there are many 'poor' students out there.

Locking of all caves would solve a problem, but in the real world, looks unlikely to happen. The answer has to be making the removal of stall underground illegal, as a result of by-law legislation. It is illegal to remove moss from the Dartmoor National Park. One is not allowed to remove boulders, gravel or sand from a beach. I think I'm right in saying removal of Limestone Pavement is now forbidden. I have written to my local MP urging him to look at this problem, using such emotive phrases as, 'In my great, great, great, great grandchilds lifetime, this damage will not repair itself'. I urge all cavers to take 20 minutes and do the same. However, the real weight would come from the National Caving body, (sorry, can't remember how the recent name change went) to lobby the National Parks to introduce such legislation. Once the removal of stall becomes illegal, the problem will surely dissappear.
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #56 on: October 02, 2006, 10:39:42 am »
Quote
Once the removal of stall becomes illegal, the problem will surely dissappear.

I was reading your last message through, and it all made sense to me, until I read the last phrase.

I don't know how to put this any kinder, but Mike, what planet are you living on?

It is illegal to damage a Schedule Monument, but it doesn't stop teenage morons breaking into such places and wreaking havoc. This is a highly topical matter in my area at the moment, so I do know what little regard some idiots have for the law.

Yes, making it illegal might stop people trying to sell it, but many times idiots are just out to have a good time, and that often means smashing stuff up. Vandalism has no respect for authority.

OK, perhaps I was a bit harsh, but we are having serious problems at the moment with kids who are'nt intent on making money, they are just out to cause trouble.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2006, 10:49:24 am by Peter Burgess »

Offline Elaine

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #57 on: October 02, 2006, 10:57:46 am »
I would tend to agree that having this thread is a good idea. I am sure that most of the people that use this forum are conservation minded, and to have as many of us as possible aware that this potential problem may spread to our precious caves then we will be more vigilant in catching the perpetrators.
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Offline graham

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #58 on: October 02, 2006, 11:11:48 am »
I am afraid that the thought that the criminalisation of the act would remove the problem is as far removed from reality as is the placing of the blame on students.
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #59 on: October 02, 2006, 11:19:36 am »
Graham

I think Mike meant to criminalise the sale of stal. That would remove the incentive some people might have for stealing it. I agree that criminalising the vandalism would solve little. Students are as capable of causing deliberate damage as much as anyone else.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #60 on: October 02, 2006, 11:21:05 am »
Oh, and by the way, welcome back, Graham. You have been sorely missed here.  ;D

Offline graham

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #61 on: October 02, 2006, 11:22:25 am »
Graham

I think Mike meant to criminalise the sale of stal. That would remove the incentive some people might have for stealing it. I agree that criminalising the vandalism would solve little. Students are as capable of causing deliberate damage as much as anyone else.


Pete, he did say removal rather than sale, however the analogy with the ivory trade remains valid either way. As far as students are concerned, I would say that they are, as a whole, probably exactly as likely to cause deliberate damage as anyone else, so why single them out?
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Offline graham

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #62 on: October 02, 2006, 11:22:51 am »
Oh, and by the way, welcome back, Graham. You have been sorely missed here.  ;D
Thanks, but somehow I doubt it.
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #63 on: October 02, 2006, 11:31:18 am »
Quote
I would say that they are, as a whole, probably exactly as likely to cause deliberate damage as anyone else, so why single them out?

Dunno, let's ask him.

Quote
Thanks, but somehow I doubt it.

You're too modest.

I expect Whitelackington's got a shed-load of questions for you. He keeps asking the rest of us, but we can't help him, unfortunately.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #64 on: October 02, 2006, 11:55:55 am »
Quote
Pete, he did say removal rather than sale

Ah, yes, you're quite right. Now that would be a noble but futile piece of legislation. Remove the incentive to remove them and we might make progress. Isn't deliberately damaging another's property criminal damage anyway, same as theft? Selling stal you have stolen is selling stolen goods. Buying it is receiving stolen goods.

Perhaps there's too much legislation - and we don't rely on our existing laws enough.


Offline Greg Jones

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #65 on: October 02, 2006, 05:56:08 pm »
As I have said before in this thread, making the removal of stal illegal is a non-starter; because the quarrying industry, with it's powerful political lobby, would block any attempts at legislation.

I accept Mike's suggestion that £5 is quite attractive if you're broke, but if I wanted to know what I could get for a piece of stal I would look on Ebay first, Not a caving forum. I might though look on a caving forum for information on where I could obtain some stal to sell.

How much stal has been taken from gated caves? Anyone have a clue?
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Offline graham

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #66 on: October 02, 2006, 06:16:25 pm »
I can also think of a significant number of karst scientists who would be a tad annoyed if the removal of stal were to be made illegal. Thing is, in most (not all) cases they are dealing with stuff which isn't particularly aesthetically pretty; but it is still stal & would be caught by such a ban.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #67 on: October 02, 2006, 06:38:17 pm »
I think you'll find the people responsible for damaging caves are not students. Scrote-ish toe-rag crim-types living in white trash ghettos out "for a laff", a toke/smoke and some bevvies "wiv their mates".

Offline Rhys

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #68 on: October 02, 2006, 08:32:19 pm »
I accept Mike's suggestion that £5 is quite attractive if you're broke...

It barely pays for the petrol to make the trip to the cave though.

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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #69 on: October 02, 2006, 08:37:47 pm »
Either the car is stolen or the petrol is siphoned. The car is set on fire in a layby on the way home.

Offline Les W

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2006, 12:05:52 am »
Either the car is stolen or the petrol is siphoned. The car is set on fire in a layby on the way home.


But not too far from home coz they don't want to walk very far.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #71 on: October 03, 2006, 07:58:13 am »
Unfortunately Mike (Barnes) this forum is not making the problem worse, but is a very small part of the cause of the problem, which is the internet as a whole in my opinion.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to visit a cave you had to be very proactive in order to do so. You had to buy a guidebook in order to find out where the caves were, or join a Club. You had to acquire a lamp from somewhere.

Today the locations of many of our finest (and not so fine) caves are recorded on hundreds, if not thousands of websites. There are photographs of some of the most beautiful formations, together with directions to their locations underground. The internet has made this information available to anyone with a computer

So now any twat who wants a bit of stal doesn't have to do much surfing to find out where he can get some. Then all he needs is a £5 headtorch off Ebay and he's away. Publicising the prices that the twat gets for the stal on this forum will certainly not encourage anyone to go and get some.

If we want to stop this then the only answer in the short term, in my opinion, is to gate every cave with any stal of note in it. But we all know what a lot of people will say to this suggestion don't we? As I have said before on another thread, we could campaign for some legislation giving calcite the same sort of protection as ivory, but in the time it would take to happen, the stal hunters could strip every cave of it's stal. The quarrying industry would never let it happen anyway.

No; it will have to be gates!

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days and I believe Ship-Badger has made a significant and very important point re the easy availability of previously guarded information, resulting in detrimental visits to not-so-obvious unlocked sites by inconsiderate non-cavers.

However, there is a risk that it is purely a case of perceived increased damage to site rather than actual extra trips; the nature of damage/graffiti is that it is cumulative and so even if the rate of damage/graffiti drops over the years, the end result always looks as though the problem is becoming more and more prevalent. The cave in question, LL, is magnificently decorated in places but in other parts it is easy to discern the polishing from the passing of thousands of cavers - the site is popular and popular sites take wear and tear. Swildon's Hole has been thoroughly smoothed, almost as much as Goatchurch Cavern in places; this is an unavoidable end result of caving - our underground footpaths do not recover and grow back.

However, if there is a detectable rise in harvesting of formations (for whatever end purpose) then I believe Ship-Badger's suggestion might need to be seriously considered as a preventative reactionary measure to the widespread availability of location info which in the past was beyond reach of all except the super-determined or "those in the know".

I don't believe there is a right to such information; people earn or command respect; something similar should be the case for caving access IMHO. If there's a free-for-all then caves have no protection whatsoever (as has clearly been the case in these recent incidents).

My 2p.





Offline graham

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #72 on: October 03, 2006, 08:13:58 am »
Damn right Chris. I have held such views for years. Others complain that it's somewhat elitist and I reply "yes, it is".
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #73 on: October 03, 2006, 08:27:56 am »
Security through obscurity. I've come to idea that entrance locations should not be advertised, but that responsible cavers should be easily contactable, so that genuine and responsible new cavers can be given as much help as they need to get underground safely. If you want to know where a cave is, ask, and we can help. However, its a bit too late now for many caves, isn't it? We can't pick them up and hide them somewhere else where naughty people can't find them.

The problem is very deep seated. The problem is ultimately down to how a potential vandal is brought up, the kind of values that are instilled in him/her at a young age. "If only everyone was brought up like me!" is not a statement of personal vanity - "look how good I am!" - but a genuine reflection of the kind of values everone should be encouraged to have. I am by no means perfect, but when I recoil at the news of cave vandalism, I know that someone at some time did something right when they taught me what was and was not acceptable behaviour. This is only easy to do with children, and is an almighty task to change the values of older people, who are hard-wired into a warped form of 'morality'.
 

Offline Les W

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Re: stalactites for sale
« Reply #74 on: October 03, 2006, 06:37:08 pm »
Now is probably the time to mantion the "secrecy policy" of US cavers. :spank:

(I'm not advocating it, I'm not even sure it works, but it seems this debate is heading in that direction) :(
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