1916 court: Motorcyclist crahes into a tailor’s window

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At the Scarborough Police Court on Wednesday, before Alderman V Fowler, Alderman Ascough, Alderman Rowntree, Cllr Hopwood, Mr AJ Tugwell, and Mr George Rowntree, Noah Adolph Potasnick, (18), soldier, of Deepdale Boarding House, was charged on remand with being an alien resident in the prohibited area of the Borough of Scarborough, he failed to furnish the particulars of his nationality etc to the registration officer. He was further charged with driving a motorcycle without being licensed on January 15.

Defendant pleaded guilty in both cases.

The chief constable, in outlining the facts of the case, said on January 15 the defendant was riding a motorcycle down Newborough, when he crashed into a window of Messrs Laycock’s clothiers. He picked his cycle up and ran up Queen Street to try to get his engine up to spark, but he failed.

Mr Laycock went after him, caught him, and took him back to the shop. Mr Laycock laid information to the police. Upon PC Tillburn’s arrival he made enquiries with reference to the cycle and in accordance with the usual custom of the police asked the defendant to produce his licence.

The defendant said he had no licence. He also gave his name as Charles Webb 3/5th Yorkshire Regiment, of Deepdale Boarding House, New Queen Street. The constable made further enquiries, and subsequently defendant produced a licence made out to Marks Adolph Potasnick, 22, of Fort Street, Spittlefields, and he said in the name of Charles Webb, giving that name to the constable not wishing the military authorities to know that he had enlisted under a false name. The defendant subsequently admitted that he was a Russian Pole, having been in this country about nine years, and that he had enlisted as a British subject and that he had assumed the name of Charles Webb for that purpose. Continuing, the chief constable said the defendant was further charged with coming into this prohibited area, and not registering himself, he being an alien. Referring to the charge of riding a cycle without a licence, the chief said it appeared, from telephone enquiries made from the Metropolitan police that the man’s name was Noah, and that his brother’s name was Marks. A few days ago the defendant wrote to his brother asking him to send on the motor licence, so that he (the defendant) might go for rides. The cycle did not belong to the defendant, but to his brother. It was ascertained that his parents did live at Spittlefields. It was true he had been in this country about nine years.

His father, continued the chief, was a tailor, and a Russian Pole. His parents did not know the defendant had joined the army. They were given to understand that he had private employment in this part of the country. He had been away from home since May. He went home at Christmas, but in his civilian clothes, and it was only since these cases had been brought against him that his parents had known he had joined the army.

Defendant said he did not know foreigners were prohibited in this area.

By the chairman: He enlisted in this area. The chief constable said defendant’s commanding officer was in court and would say something with regard to defendant’s character in the army. He, the chief, was in an awkward position with regard to the defendant. He could not even allow him to remain in the area, although he had enlisted and was in the army. Before allowing him to remain, he must receive the necessary documents establishing his identity.

Captain Millburn, the defendant’s commanding officer, deposed to defendant’s army record being good. The fact of defendant having enlisted under a false name was not strictly correct. Aliens may not now enlist in his Majesty’s forces.

Replying to the clerk, Mr Black, Captain Millburn said apart from these charges there was no reason why the defendant should not remain in the army. The whole matter would be referred to the general officer commanding, and dealt with by him.

The clerk: You might be able to help defendant to get his passport and identification papers.

Captain Millburn: Yes, I expect we could do that.

The bench, having retired to consider their decision, fined the defendant 5s in both cases, 10s in all.