Young vagrant given chance by magistrates

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1914 Court

Today at the Scarborough Police Court, before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham) and other magistrates, Wm Jones (17), collier, of no fixed abode, was charged on remand with 
being a suspected person, he loitered in the vicinity of the North Side bungalows with intention to commit a felony on July 2nd.

The youth pleaded not guilty.

PC Wood said that at about 3.15 on Thursday morning he was on duty on the North Side, when he saw prisoner coming along the sands from the direction of Scalby Mills. When he got to the bungalows he went up the steps and tried the doors of six bungalows. He then proceeded to the back of the cafe, and then to the front of the cafe. Seeing a man 
going from the direction of the town towards Scalby Mills he dodged behind the cafe again. Witness walked towards the cafe, and met prisoner coming from behind the other bungalows.

He had had to climb up a wall to get on to the top. Witness asked him what he was doing, and he denied having tried the doors of the bungalows, and said he had looked in the waste paper basket to see if he could find anything to eat. He denied also dodging behind the cafe when he saw the man. When arrested, cautioned and charged he made no reply.

Prisoner said that he had found a bag of biscuits in the waste 
paper basket the night before and he went early in the morning to see if he could find anything else. He did not try one door, and seeing the man coming along the sands he stepped back about two yards. The man said “How do you do?” and he replied, “How do you do?”. He then walked up the steps.

Asked where he came from, the lad replied that Pontefract was his native place. He was going along the coast to try and get some work amongst the pit props.

The Chief Constable said the case was remanded from the previous week so that he might make inquiries. He made every possible inquiry, and he did not think the youth had been in any serious trouble, as his fingerprints had not been recognised either at Scotland Yard or in the West Riding.

At Pontefract he had made very thorough inquiries; his photograph had been shown to people in Pontefract, but he had not been identified. The youth had said he went to school at Pontefract, was in a pit for five or six months and then went cattle droving from Pontefract and Doncaster market. He had been tramping about the country for the last two years and nine months.

He had resided with a woman named Barbara Wolf, whom he called his stepmother. He (the Chief) could not bear anything which would lead him to suppose the lad was a thief, but he was 
certainly a vagrant.

The Mayor: Has he any home?

The Chief: No home.

He added that he had tried to find any friends of the lad who could do anything for him. The lad had been roaming over the country for the last two years, staying at workhouses and sleeping out. He would leave the case in the magistrates’ hands but whatever was done he would continue to make enquiries to see if he could find any friends of the lad.

Prisoner said he had been with a man on the roads. He (prisoner) slept out that night, and the man went into the Workhouse. He could get work in Lincolnshire if he could plough.

The Mayor said the magistrates thought that the 
circumstances were very 
suspicious, but at the same time the case was perhaps not absolutely proved, and in consideration of his youth he would be given a chance.

The magistrates would adjourn the case for a week so that prisoner could leave the town and try to get honest, 
regular work.