1917 crimes: Missing boy and stolen wallet turn up in Filey

A curious case came before Mr S Savery (in the chair), and Mr W Sayner, at the Scarborough Children’s Court on Monday when a York boy of 12 was charged with having stolen a pocket wallet containing Treasury notes to the value of £7, the property of his father.

It appeared that on August 5th, the father with his wife and family came 
to Scarborough for a holiday.

On Friday last they all went to bed at about ten o’clock, and rose next morning about eight o’clock.

It was then found that the boy was missing. It was also found that the pocket wallet and the contents were also missing.

The father could not tell what had occurred to the boy, and he gave information to the police.

Enquiries were made and no trace of the boy being found at Scarborough, a telephone message was sent to Filey at which place the boy was arrested by the East Riding police.

There was found in the boy’s possession the pocket wallet and notes and money to the value of £6 1s 3d out of the original £7.

The chairman, to the boy: What induced you to do such a thing? - No answer.

Have you ever taken anything before? - Yes.

The father of the boy said that when he was about five years of age he fell into the River Ouse, and that seemed to completely change his whole disposition.

For three weeks his mind was a complete blank; he knew nothing about it.

The doctor said they, the parents, would have a deal of trouble with him until he was about 14 years of age, when he might grow quite all right again.

He had been a source of trouble ever since and 
they, the parents, did not think he was really responsible for his actions in that respect.

He could not leave the money alone, his mind seemed to be affected in that way, as if he had kleptomania, and could not leave any money alone.

He was suffering from shock, and it would take some years to work out of his system.

They had tried to prevent the boy taking money, but it was a continual occurrence. His wife had to carry money in a hand bag and take it up and down stairs.

Witness, in reply to the magistrates, said, the boy did not steal other people’s money, and that when he had truanted on a certain occasion the master had thrashed him, and they boy had not truanted again.

Replying to Mr Sayner the father said he and his wife had thrashed the boy, and on the other hand they had overlooked such offences, treated him kindly, talked to him, and tried to encourage him not to do such things.

They had given him ample pocket money to prevent an excuse in that direction for taking money.

Since the family had been in Scarborough the boy had had four or five shillings “on his own” besides coppers given to him.

By Mr Sayner: The boy squandered the money on treats for other boys.

The chairman (to the boy): What did you spend this 12s on?

The boy: On my dinner and tea, and pleasure.

The mother said “he was a right good boy” but for stealing.

He had not been the same since he was nearly drowned.

The magistrates bound the boy over for twelve months in the sun of £5, and the parents in the sum of £2 10s each, the lad to be under the care of the York Probation Officer.

The chairman warned the lad, and quoted: “A bad son is a grief to his father and a heaviness to his mother.”