1. ITV Report

18 carat gold nugget found on Westward Ho! beach

18 carat gold nugget found on Westward Ho! Photo: ITV News West Country

There is proof the north Devon coast really is the golden coastline after a treasure hunter struck gold by finding an 18 carat nugget on Westward Ho! beach.

Merlin Cadogan found it with his metal detector last week and said he "couldn't believe his eyes". The find is worth a small fortune.

Merlin Cadogan found the gold nugget. Credit: ITV News West Country

I lifted the scoop out of the water and I couldn't believe it there was just this gold nugget in there and I just thought oh my word no one's going to believe me, it's just a once in a lifetime occurence.

– Merlin Cadogan
The gold nugget is 18 carats Credit: ITV News West Country

Merlin's last brush with gold came through the colour of his diving helmet when he shocked judges on Britain's Got Talent in 2009 by juggling fire while underwater.

He is still an escapologist performing during the tourist season, but in the winter he is out with his metal detector collecting all types of finds.

This one here is a four Real coin and it's a Spanish coin which is solid silver, it's got Napoleon's brother Joseph Nap on the back there.

I found this old whistle which must have been down there for sometime still working. It's got a number in there cow number 23 come in your time is up.

– Merlin Cadogan

The nugget might well be smelted gold and its value could be between a thousand to four thousand pounds. Merlin believes there is more gold in the beaches.

There have been at least 500 shipwrecks between Hartland Point and Mortehoe.

I bet there's plenty more out there either on Westward Ho! or any of the beaches between Hartland Point and Mortehoe Point, but you've just got to have the time to find it really.

– Merlin Cadogan

The charasmatic collector was taking his gold to Barnstaple museum today to be officially recorded and to discover if this will be a lucrative finders keepers.

You can watch Seth Conway's report below: