1915 Police Court
At the Children’s Court today, before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham) presiding, and other magistrates, George Kay (15), 15, Spreight Lane Steps, was summoned for having stolen two gent’s boots valued at 8s, the property of the Cash Boot Co, on the 26th February.
The Chief Constable said this was another case arising out of the fire at the premises. The boots were the property of the Cash Boot Co, and were either removed from the shop or picked up from the pavement. They were found in the possession of this boy, and identified. His reply was that he found them in the street, and he thought he might as well take them home. This was another case arising from the carelessness of the parents. “The parents,” he thought, “ought to be charged with feloniously receiving stolen goods.” If they had not been encouraged, the children would not take the goods home. The father of the boy was serving in the Royal Naval Reserve. The boy said a soldier threw the boots out into the street, and as other people were taking them he thought he should take them.
The Mayor said the magistrates found the boy guilty, and said there seemed to be an impression on the part of a few people in the town that whenever there was an emergency in the way of a fire or in the case of a bombardment, they could get hold of anything by unlawful means, they thought it right and proper to do so. A fire was not the slightest excuse for anyone to pick up anything or go into a place and get anything. There was a similar case a few days ago. A man went into a house during a fire and took articles, whilst during the bombardment there was a case connected with the Grand Hotel, when persons went into that building and pilfered things. They thought the parents were a great deal to blame. The boy and his mother were each bound over to be of good behaviour for twelve months in the sum of £5 each.
Another case of juvenile theft in which Robert William Blackstone and Charles Blackstone, of 36, Cross Street, and James Leonard Kirton, of 3, Purnell’s Yard, Cross Street, were summoned for stealing a quantity of wood valued at £3 the property of Selina Cammish, between the 30th January and the 24th February, was also heard.
The Chief Constable said there was a counter and two sheds in the yard of 30, Dumple Street. The wood had been about there for some considerable time, and had been disappearing between the dates mentioned. It had been taken over a wall, and he (the Chief Constable) could not understand how these small boys had got the wood over the wall and taken it home. It showed great enterprise upon their part. This was another of these cases of juvenile crime. Every like case which had come before his notice during the last twelve months was through the carelessness of the parents. In this particular case the wood was found in an attic of the house, and could not have got there without the parents knowing. These small boys took it home and Detective Sergeant Yeoman said the boys said a man had told them they could have the wood.
The boys were found guilty. The Mayor said the parents did not exercise proper supervision over the children, as they ought to do. It was not the fault of the children but the fault of the parents. The two boys Blackstone were each ordered to pay 2s 6d costs, whilst Kirton was ordered to pay 5s costs.