Jail for man who stole policeman’s bike lamp

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1914 court

At Norton (Malton), Robert Rex, a lance-corporal in the East Yorkshire Regiment, stationed at Strensall, York, was brought up in custody and charged with having stolen an acetylene bicycle lamp, the property of the East Riding County Council. The lamp was attached to a machine which was being used by Sergeant Kirby, stationed at Sherburn, East Riding.

From the evidence given by Sergeant Kirby it appeared that the officer had shown remarkable smartness in effecting the arrest of the accused. After first getting a clue he kept on the track for 19 hours consecutively, and was then successful in finding his man.

Sergeant Kirby stated in evidence, that he was on duty at the Staxton motor trials and races, and on returning home about 9pm he visited the Grey Hound Inn, Ganton.

He went in by the back door and left his bicycle there. His lamp was fully alight, and attached to the bicycle. He went into the house which was full of people. After visiting the rooms he went out by the front door, and went to his bicycle and found that this lamp was missing. He went inside and asked all the people if they had got his lamp, and they replied that “they had not.” He searched the premises for the lamp, thinking that it had been done for mischief, but could not find it.

He visited several villages trying to get a clue, and he got one at West Heslerton to the effect that a soldier had been seen making for Malton with an acetylene lamp. Witness followed and came up to accused at Strensall. Witness told him that he suspected him of stealing his lamp and warned him in the usual way. He said he had not got the lamp. Witness then told him that he should get a search warrant and try to find it in his house at York. Accused replied that witness would not find it there. Witness then asked him where his bicycle was, and he took witness to a building a little way off, and showed his cycle to him. The stolen lamp was on it.

Witness drew accused’s 
attention to the lamp and to an oil lamp which was tied behind the bicycle. Accused, however, made no reply to this. Witness then apprehended Rex, and handed him over to the superintendent of police at Norton. The value of the lamp was 12s 6d.

Accused said he had no questions to ask, and in reply to the charge said he desired to be dealt with at that court.

An officer of the accused’s battalion told the Court that Rex had been convicted for a previous offence and handed over to the civil power, who sentenced him to a term in jail.

The bench retired, after which the Chair (the Hon Eustace Dawnay) said that they considered the case a very bad one, and accused would be sent to prison for seven days with hard labour.