1917 court: Fraudster wanted for ‘a number of offences’

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At the Scarborough Police Court, Ernest Bainbridge, publican, 15, Meadow Lane, Nottingham, was charged, on remand, with obtaining a diamond cluster ring, valued at £42 by false pretences, the property of Mr G Sedman, jeweller, Newborough, on May 5th, when it was related how prisoner, who was “wanted” for a number of offences, was apprehended by an acquaintance upon whose good nature he had imposed.

Prisoner, who appeared to be about 30 years of age, pleaded guilty.

The Chief Constable said prisoner entered the shop of Mr Sedman at about 8pm on May 5th, asking to be shown some single stone rings, similar to the one he was wearing, which seemed to be a very good single stone diamond ring. Mrs Sedman showed him a number, and he selected a seven-stone diamond cluster ring, making a statement, in conversation, that he wanted the ring for his wife, and that he used to keep a public house at Liverpool, which he had sold, buying a private house at Bridlington, and that he had been wounded in France. Mrs Sedman said the ring was worth £45, and he asked if she would accept a cheque, to which she assented. He made out a cheque for £42, having agreed with Mrs Sedman that £2 should be taken off, on the National and Provincial Bank of England (Liverpool branch). He signed it “Alfred Stevens” and remarked: “You may think my signature is peculiar; that is why I sign it.” Mrs Sedman said if it was all right at the bank that was all that mattered, and gave him a receipted bill at his request.

Mrs Sedman thought she had done a very good stroke of business, but Mr Sedman, on his return, remembering a matter which had been mentioned to him by the police, quickly ascertained that the cheque was not genuine, and informed the police. Prisoner pledged the ring at York with Mr Wm Sharpe, Colliergate, York, for £20, first asking £30. On June 18th a Mr Thomas Watkinson, Sea View Parade, Morecombe, called with the pawn ticket to redeem the ring, and the pawnbroker informed the police, Mr Watkinson stated he had met prisoner several times at Morecambe, and he seemed to be of independent means, and enjoying himself on holiday. One day prisoner said he had got a bit short of funds, and wanted to raise a bit of money on the pawn ticket. He “told the tale” about buying the ring for someone and then not wanting it, and so on. Mr Wilkinson bought the ticket for £3. Enquiries were made throughout the country, and through Mr Wilkinson, who behaved very credibly, prisoner was arrested in Manchester. It appeared Mr Wilkinson had been looking out for the prisoner and on Monday he saw him in a Manchester hotel. Prisoner said, “Don’t give a pal away,” and ran away, Mr Wilkinson chasing him and practically arresting and handing him over to the police.

Prisoner said he was very sorry he had done wrong, and he would not do so again. He had a good character before. He had been partly driven to it. He had a public house of his own, his father leaving him £900 and four houses. He got married and his wife turned out the wrong way, which seemed to send him horse racing. He caught her with men a fortnight after they were married. All his family were respectable. He knew he had done wrong.

The chief constable said the Nottingham City Police reported that prisoner had held a licence at Stapleford previously held by his parents. He had been fined 21s for diluting whisky. His wife’s parents had also kept a public house. He (the Chief) did not wish any other case to be considered, Prisoner had been going about committing that class of offence, and was wanted at Liverpool, Sheffield and Blackpool.

The chairman said prisoner would go to gaol for six months with hard labour. They had not taken any other case into consideration.