The metal detector enthusiast who found the biggest Viking treasure haul in Britain has criticised the Crown's handling of the "priceless" discovery.

Ayrshire businessman Derek McLennan, who unearthed the Galloway Viking Hoard in 2014, said he has been sidelined by the Crown's Treasure Trove Unit and Historic Environment Scotland and so far he has received nothing for the find.

He criticised the organisations for shutting him out of the process including refusing to allow him to be present to view related excavations.

While he said the reward for finding artefacts is usually 100 per cent of their value shared under agreement with the landowner - which here is the Church of Scotland - he claimed he has yet to receive even a receipt for some of the items.

The Queen’s & Lord’s Treasurer Remembrancer under the Treasure Trove Unit places found items with museums and only once this is done is a payment made.

A further delay could come as the cost of the hoard which it is claimed will be kept together when it is finally placed could be restrictive.

A spokesman for the Crown said the correct process for valuing and placing treasure trove has been followed.

Mr McLennan, who runs a not-for-profit company promoting responsible metal detecting, said he was disappointed to have been sidelined at the unveiling of one artefact.

He said: "It was massively disappointing to be excluded from further discovery such as viewing the emptying of the Carolingian vessel and the lack of information being made available to me as the finder."

Mr McLennan , who wrote an article in The Searcher magazine, said the Crown should live up to its code of practice to "promote and reward the honest, law abiding detectorists who do the right thing".

He said: "All I ever wanted was for good things to come from this discovery ... unfortunately, I am still waiting."

Under Scots law all portable antiquities of archaeological, historical or cultural significance are subject to claim by the Crown through the Treasure Trove system and must be reported.

More than 100 items wer found in the mystery cache including six silver Anglo-Saxon disc brooches from the early 9th century, a silver brooch from Ireland and Byzantium silk from around modern-day Istanbul.

Mr McLennan added: "At the present time the artefacts within the hoard may be getting valued, but I have no idea when, or if, this is indeed taking place."

A Treasure Trove Unit spokesman said: "We are disappointed, given we have been in contact with Mr McLennan in the last few weeks and he did not raise these concerns with us.

“We have sought to ensure he has been kept in the loop and updated wherever possible and we have worked to ensure he is made aware of, and involved, with media and other events surrounding the hoard.

“Given the nature and significance of the find the work has undoubtedly taken longer than normal, which reflects the fragile and often unique nature of the material.

“We appreciate that the time taken on this very necessary work can often be frustrating but we are doing everything within our power to ensure a timeous outcome whilst at the some protecting the integrity of this incredible find.

"I am sure that Mr McLennan will agree this is the foremost priority.

"We will write to Mr McLennan tomorrow inviting him to a further meeting."