1916 court: Drunk barman steals cheese and biscuits

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On Saturday at the Scarborough Police Court, the case against a London barman for breaking into the dwelling house at 123 North Marine Road, was on the charge sheet.

Prisoner was John Richardson (42), of 105, Whitfield Street, Tottenham Court Road, London, and he had taken boots, whisky, a cigar case and cigars, cheese and biscuits, and opera glasses.

A further charge of stealing the goods named from the house was also preferred, and this was taken first. The goods belonged to Joseph Thompson, and on this charge of stealing the goods prisoner pleaded guilty. Thereupon the chief constable withdrew the charge of breaking into the house so that the magistrates might deal with him.

Mr Thompson is a commercial traveller, whose home is at York. The value of the stolen property was £2, and an entrance had been made through a window of a sitting room, which had not been fastened. Later the prisoner had pawned some of the goods, and he was subsequently arrested wearing the stolen boots.

Prisoner said he got drunk on the night in question and saw the window partly open. As he had no money to pay his lodgings he got through and the first thing he saw was a bottle of whisky - which made him worse - and after that his mind was a blank.

The chief constable said from the fingerprints that had been found that he had been convicted four times in London - for stealing a clock, attempted shop breaking, being a suspected person, and a rogue and vagabond. Some of the convictions were in the name of Monck.

Prisoner admitted these convictions.

It appeared from a statement by the chief constable that prisoner had been in the Army - he joined the Seaforth Highlanders in 1897. After leaving he was in civil employment, as a potman in London, for a time. On August 18th, 1914, he joined the Army Service Corps, and went to France, where he was wounded, he being treated at Chelsea Hospital. He was discharged in March last year. Prisoner was making enquiries now with regard to a pension, and had been now awarded a temporary pension of 4s 8d a week. On July 6th last he received £32 11s 8d, on the 6th May £5, £10 10s in April. Two days after receiving the £32 he was begging at the Council of Social Welfare’s office for help to carry him until he got his pension, and he had been advanced £2 by the council. He told him (the chief) that when he was coming down in the train from London.

He went to sleep with the £32 on him and when he woke up it was not on him.

Prisoner: I reported that when I first got to Scarborough.

The chief added that prisoner was born in Scarborough, but had not been living here for quite a number of years.

Prisoner asked the bench to be lenient as he might 
lose his pension. It was all through drink.

He was sent to prison for three months with hard labour, the chairman urging him to try and do better.