Guilty plea over theft of gramophone records

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1913 Court

Trooper John Jack (22), 20th Hussars stationed at the Scarborough Barracks, was charged with having stolen from the Bedford Arms, Castle Road, two gramophone records, valued at 2s 6d, the property of Joseph John White, on November 15th.

Prisoner, dressed in the uniform of his regiment, pleaded guilty.

The Chief Constable said that prisoner and another soldier went into the Bedford Arms, Castle Road, about 10 o’clock on Saturday evening. By permission of the landlady they had the gramophone in the back room, she left them there together with some records for their use. They were there with the gramophone playing about 20 minutes. Shortly after they left she went into the room and missed the two records.

Information was given to the police and an officer went after the two soldiers. He found them and asked him to accompany him to the police office. When approaching the latter prisoner threw the records down on the ground and ran away. The officer went after him, caught him, and when he was charged he made no reply. The other soldier, a corporal, said he had no knowledge whatever that his comrade had the records.

Evidence bearing out the statement was given by the landlord of the Bedford Arms and his wife.

PC Veitch said that the men were seen in North Marine Road. When near the police office he dropped the records and ran off, witness overtaking him in Oxford Street.

Prisoner said he had no intention of stealing the records. They had the records at the Bedford Street Arms, and his companion was handing the records to him, after placing them in the gramophone. He never knew he had the records in his pocket - he must have placed them there for the time being, and forgotten them - until he was accosted by the police. He affirmed that he handed the records to the constable when they dropped - he did not throw them away.

An officer, Major Crichton, from the Barracks, said he did not know prisoner personally, but he had looked up his record, and his soldier’s character was very good.

Prisoner had been an officer’s servant, and a reliable steady man.

Replying to the Bench as to whether, if the magistrates took a lenient view of the case, prisoner would be punished by the authorities - discharged, for instance - the officer replied: Oh, no.

The magistrates treated the case under the First Offenders’ Act, and hoped that he would not be seen in a court again. He would be bound over, and would have to pay 15s including costs.