Farm foreman admits stealing pigs and oats

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1913 court

At the North Riding Police Court today, before Mr F Baker in the chair, Mr AH Robinson, Mr Yarborough Anderson, and Mr JE Marsden, a respectable-looking man named James Wilson, farm foreman, Burniston, was charged with stealing 18 sacks of oats at Burniston, the property of the Exors of WP Newham, between 1st May and 21st July. He was further charged with stealing three pigs, between 1st June and 21st July; and further with stealing four sacks of oats, the property of the Exors of WP Newham at Burniston.

Mr J Whitfield appeared for the prosecution and Mr R Harland for the defendant.

Prisoner pleaded guilty, and elected to be tried summarily.

In outlining the case for the prosecution Mr J Whitfield said that defendant was engaged in the early part of November last by Mr Dawson, on behalf of Newham’s executors as farm foreman at the farm in the occupation of Mr Newham’s executors at Burniston. He commenced his duties on the 23rd November, and it was explained to him on his engagement that he was not to sell anything from the farm, and that all sales would be effected by Mr Dawson on behalf of the executors. It appeared that about the beginning of June the defendant called on Mr Middleton, the landlord of the Jolly Sailors, Burniston, and asked whether he had storage room for some oats. At the same time he informed Mr Middleton that he was about to buy some oats from a Mr Shaw, of Staintondale. Mr Middleton arranged to allow him to store the oats in the barn, and on the following day prisoner personally removed into the barn 18 bags of oats.

The prisoner called on Mr Wilkinson, corn factor, and traction engine proprietor, of Scalby, and said he had bought these oats from a Mr Shaw at Staintondale. Mr Wilkinson’s first opinion was that the price asked by prisoner was too high, but about a fortnight later, on Seamer Fair day (July 15th) he called on Mr Wilkinson again, and together they went down to the Jolly Sailors and with prisoner and Middleton inspected the oats.

After certain bargaining Mr Wilkinson arranged to buy 16 bags for a sum of £9 10s. Prisoner asked the cheque to be made payable to Mr Middleton. Middleton cashed the cheque at Scarborough and the same night saw the prisoner, and paid money to him, who returned him 10s, presumably for the storage.

At first he denied the offence but after having had a conversation with his wife, he said that he wished to plead guilty.

Inspector Boynton said that when first charged prisoner pleaded guilty to stealing the pigs, but not the corn, but after a conversation with his wife prisoner said, “I had better plead guilty to the whole lot.”

In the second case Mr Whitfield said there were 15 pigs on the farm at Burniston, and on 2nd June, the prisoner sold two of them to Mr Middleton for 20s 6d each, and a little later disposed of a third to Mrs Middleton for £1. Mr Dawson visited the farm, and on counting the pigs found there were 12 instead of 15. He asked prisoner for an explanation, and he said they had died and he had buried them.

Mr Dawson said he ought not to bury pigs if there was any question of disease, but prisoner said there had been no disease. He had changed the pigs from one farm to another, and with change of meals and one thing and another, they had got cold and died, Mr Dawson accepted the explanation at the time.

Mr Whitfield said since prisoner was taken into custody he had been charged with seven offences, including the two heard by the court, and he had admitted them all. Three of the charges were concerned with the disposal of corn 
and poultry to a Mr Poskitt, 
in Leeds.

Mr Harland pleaded with the bench to deal leniently with prisoner.

Inspector Boynton stated that prisoner had been going by the name of Hood previous to coming here.

Prisoner was sentenced to six calender months, hard labour in each case, the sentences to run concurrently.