Boy who stole charity boxes caught in Brid

144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14
144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14

At the Borough Police Court before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham), Aldermen V Fowler, Ascough and Rowntree, Cllr Hopwood and Mr AJ Tugwell, Harris Abrahams Pascha (14), 96 Lee Street, Leicester, was brought up on remand charged with breaking into and entering the premises of 11 Westborough and stealing therefrom the sum of £1 4s 11d, a telescope and a pocket knife of the value together of £1 15s 11d, the moneys and property of John Watson Rowntree and William Edwin Popple between July 20th and 23rd.

Defendant, a bright and active-looking youth, pleaded guilty.

The Chief Constable, outlining the facts of the case, said at about 9pm on July 21st, Messrs Rowntree’s cafe was securely closed. Mr JW Rowntree looked around and saw everything was secure with the exception of the top portion of the bathroom window, which was left open for ventilation purposes. There was 3s 8d change in the till in the bottom serving room, and sums of money in two charity boxes – Dr Barnado’s Homes and the local hospital. The telescope belonging to Mr Popple was kept in the men’s room. The next morning, July 22nd, about 5.40am Mr Popple went to these premises. He entered by the front door in Westborough, and as soon as he got inside he saw the cash desk was open, Mr Rowntree’s door open, and the Dr Barnado’s and hospital boxes missing, showing clearly that a burglary had been committed. Practically every drawer in the place had been ransacked. He found that the back door of the premises had been left open. Information having been given, it was found that an entry had been effected by the back window. The person who entered the premises left by the back door, leaving it open after him. Information was then given to the police. Some time later it was ascertained that the caretaker of Christ Church had found in the lavatory the Dr Barnado’s and hospital boxes, a walking stick, a piece of a candle, a pocket knife and a piece of leather, which it would be proved was used as a cover for Mr Popple’s telescope, and these were handed over to the police. Enquiries were made, it being eventually learnt that the boy stayed at Messrs Sadler’s cafe from July 15th to July 22nd. He paid 2s a night for his bed.

It could be proved that the walking stick, which was found in the Christ Church lavatory, had been in the possession of the boy during the whole of the time he was at Messrs Sadler’s. He stayed at the cafe until the morning before the office was broken into on July 21st. He settled his account and said he was going back to Leicester. On the morning of the 22nd, however, he returned to Messrs Sadler’s in a dirty, dusty and dishevelled state. The maid at the 
cafe mentioned that he bore the appearance of having been out all night. The same day he left Scarborough without saying a word. Circulars having been distributed about the county with regard to the loss of the telescope, a telephonic communication was received from Bridlington to the effect that a robbery had also taken place there and that the person accused of having committed it seemed to answer the description of the one wanted for a similar offence at Scarborough, a telescope having been found in his possession. This proved to be correct. It appeared that the night following the offence at Scarborough he journeyed to Bridlington and entered a shop there the same night, being subsequently arrested. He was brought up at the Bridlington Court the following Saturday being sentenced to one day’s imprisonment, which meant immediate release. This decision was arrived at so that he might answer the more serious charge of burglary at Scarborough. This boy, the Chief Constable continued, belonged to Leicester. He was afraid he had not had a very good bringing up. His step-father was a very indifferent man who frequented race meetings, public houses and the like. Sometime ago, on October 15th last, the boy was charged at Leicester for shopbreaking and larceny. At that time he admitted sixteen cases of shop-breaking in Leicester dealing with property to the value altogether of £35. He was committed to the Adel Reformatory, near Leeds, to remain there until he attained the age of 19 years. He absconded from there on July 13th, having obtained a bicycle from somewhere and rode away for Leeds.

The Mayor (addressing the boy): “Do you want to say anything to the magistrates?”

The boy: “No, sir. I want to go on a ship.” The magistrates deliberated in private.

The Mayor addressing the defendant: “You have been guilty of a very serious offence. The magistrates deeply regret that you have entered upon a career of crime. It is not a solitary offence that you have committed, for you seem to have been leading a pilfering life for a long time.

“You will be bound over in your own recognisances in the sum of £5 for three years. You will be sent back to Adel reformatory, and dealt with as the authorities may think fit. “