1913 Police Court
At the Borough Police Court today, before Mr J Dippie (in the chair) and the magistrates, Frederick Archer (22), 1, Cockerill’s Yard, Longwestgate, was charged with having stolen a canary, valued at 10s, the property of Josiah Large, 10, Mill Yard, Seamer Road, on January 24th.
Archer said he did not steal the canary - he asked Large if he would let him have one and he said he would.
Joshua Large, carter, said on returning home from work on Friday he found that the canary had gone. He did not tell Archer he could take it.
Prisoner: Didn’t I see you in St Sepulchre Street? No, I haven’t seen you since three weeks yesterday.
Prisoner: It would be about three weeks ago.
The Chief Constable: What did he say then?
Witness said that Archer asked him if he could let him have a canary, as he wanted it for a young man who was ill, to sing. Witness told him he could let him have one, and he had not seen him or heard of him since.
He told Archer he could have one for 4s at that time.
By the Chief: The canaries were kept in a room at his house.
Ada Large, the wife of the last witness, prisoner stated to her that he had gone for a bird. She replied, “I don’t know about it.”
“I have just seen your husband,” said the prisoner to her, “about an hour ago, and he said you were to give me one of the singing birds.”
Witness replied that she knew nothing about it, and she did not know which he was to have. There was one in a brass cage, and she said to him that she knew that one was a singer.
Prisoner took the bird out of the cage, put it in a paper bag, and took it away.
The Chief Constable: Did you say to him that you daren’t let him take the bird away?
Witness: Yes, I was 20 minutes hesitating.
The bird, she continued, was the one taken away, but it was minus several feathers (they had been pulled out by prisoner).
Prisoner: You said I could have the bird.
Witness (emphatically): I did not.
Albert Ryland, a tradesman, carrying on business in Falsgrave Road, said that at about nine o’clock on Friday night prisoner went to his shop and offered the canary for sale asking 2s 6d for it. He said that witness had spoken to him about a canary some time ago, and on being told that he was mistaken, he replied it must have been the person next door. As it happened witness had not got a canary, his cage was empty. He asked prisoner if he bred canaries, and he replied in the affirmative, and that he had ten of them at home. He told witness that if the bird was not what he expected he would change it for him. Witness thought “the little thing was being knocked about,” and so he gave him the half-crown for it.
By the Chief Constable: Prisoner told him he was a married man with three children, that they were short of food, and he was selling the canary to get some.
PC Nalton said the man was single, and had no canaries. Prisoner had taken the canary to a pawnshop, and had there pulled out some of the feathers. Witness found some of the feathers in the pawnshop.
Prisoner said he asked Mrs Large for the canary, and she said he had better take that one out of the cage.
The Chairman: Did you offer to pay for it? Yes - when I had sold it I was going to take the money down and pay for the bird.
Replying to another question he said that Large asked him 4s for it, and he had gone down for it.
The Chief Constable suggested that prisoner should be invited to give his statement on oath, and he went into the box.
The Chief: Did you take this bird to Gibson’s pawnshop in Castle Road? Yes.
What for? To sell.
How much did you ask for it? Two-and-six.
Although you had bought the canary, as you say, for 4s, you took it to Gibson’s pawnshop and offered it for 2s 6d? Yes.
Is that the bird (one produced in a cage)? Yes.
Prisoner had not been before the Court before, but the Chief Constable said that there had been complaints of similar offences.
Prisoner stayed at a common lodging house, and was “quite a drunken little fellow”.
Prisoner said he sold sawdust – he was a labourer. The magistrates told him that he had told a lot of untruths about the matter.
He would have to go to prison for 14 days with hard labour.