Sunday school outing leads to theft of goods

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1914 Police court

Five children who came to Scarborough on a Sunday school outing were charged at the Borough’s Children’s Court on Friday morning with having stolen a large number of articles from the Remnant Warehouses.

Mabel Carlisle (12), 3, Primitive Place, Norton, was charged with having stolen two tins of boot polish, one magnifying glass, four brooches, two spoons, three pairs of rubber heels, one cup, one tablet of soap, one pin cushion, three pairs of shoes, two pairs of gloves, three pairs of socks, one pair of stockings, two lace collars, and one pipe valued together at 11s 9d, the property of W Boyes and Co Ltd on August 20th.

Laura Minnie Harland (16), domestic servant, 44, Commercial Street, Norton, was similarly charged with stealing goods to the value of £1 3s 5d. Florence May Bradley (15), domestic servant, 1, Primitive Place, Norton; Thomas Harland (14), 44, Commercial Street, Norton, and Wm Bradley, 1, Primitive Place, Norton were respectively charged with stealing goods to the value of 6s 2d, 3s 10d, and 1s 4d. All the charges were dealt with together.

The Chief Constable explained that the children came to Scarborough on a Sunday school excursion from Malton. During the afternoon at Messrs Boyes establishment it was noticed that the girl Harland was putting certain articles into a bag. Observation was kept, and subsequently the bag was found containing the articles mentioned in the charge. Subsequently she admitted ownership of the bag. With her brother she was taken to the police station, and the boy was found to be in possession of the articles mentioned in the charge against him.

Enquiries at the station at 8pm, when the party were leaving, led to the other three children being found in possession of the articles named. The articles were identified by Messrs Boyes.

Robert Riby Boyes, assistant manager, said Laura Minnie Harland had admitted in his office that she had stolen the goods after having said she had bought them. They were not wrapped up, and there were no slips, such as were always given with them.

An assistant named Emmerson said that the movements of the children were suspicious. The girl Harland told her she had lost her bag, and witness sent her to the office to enquire abut it. She had seen prisoner looking for it near her stall.

Cissie Appleby, clerk, said the last witness had brought the bag to the office, and Harland had come to ask for it.

The parents of the children all testified that they had never had any such trouble before.

The Chief Constable said the girl Harland seemed to have been the ringleader. She had been very artful throughout. One pair of stockings had been found thrown into Miss West’s yard when the children were taken there.

The Chairman said the children would be bound over in the sum of £5 to be of good behaviour for 12 months, and their parents as sureties. They would have to report to the probation officer at Malton. The bench were very shocked by the case. Prisoner had run the risk of being sent to gaol and their lives ruined.

Mrs Chapman, superintendent of the Sunday school, who’d been connected with it for 32 years, said she had never known anything of the sort before. In former years they had never allowed the children to go out by themselves.

The magistrates, with Mr Dippie in the chair, expressed sympathy with the Sunday school and parents.