A METAL detecting enthusiast has unearthed a 3,600-year-old dagger from the depths of a South Lakeland field.

The finder, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear others will descend on the secret site, said he could not believe his luck when he stumbled across the Bronze Age relic.

"I was going along a small footpath when I got a good signal from the detector. I dug down a few inches and saw a piece of green metal," he explained.

"My immediate reaction was it's Bronze Age'."

After carefully exhuming the delicate dagger, the member of the Kendal and District Metal Detecting Club contacted Kendal Museum.

The 1600BC relic, which has been confirmed as bona fide Bronze Age by experts at the British Museum, is now being safely stored by the finder.

"It's the oldest find I've had in 15 years of detecting.

"I've been told by experts that this is one of five of its kind in the whole country," he said.

"People often think that metal detectors are just scavengers looking out for other people's losses.

"But we are a responsible group who are here to enrich the local history of Kendal and the surrounding area."

Finds liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Faye Simpson, who examined the seven-and-a-half-inch dagger, said: "It is very rare to find something like this dagger in such good condition.

"We have had some prehistoric finds in the area before but nothing like this."

She added: "This find is significant in terms of someone was there in that age and the reason it was deposited there.

"But in terms of value, it is hard to say archaeologically, it is very valuable."

The Kendal and District Metal Detecting Club meets on the last Thursday of every month at the Cock and Dolphin, Kendal.