On January 3rd., PC Cocker, on duty in High Street, Waltham Cross, had seen a boy hanging on to the back of a van driving along the road. The boy was seen by the Constable to be turning over the articles in the van. The Constable mounted his bicycle and caught up with the van. When the boy saw the Constable, he jumped from the van and ran into a nearby nursery, but he was subsequently found hiding in a shed. He was taken to the police station.
The boy, Leonard Betts, aged 12, was in a very dirty condition and was alive with vermin. Inspector Jones of the NSPCC said that he had been with PC Cocker, on 6th of January, to a house in Edmonton where the defendant lived. He had been seen to be very dirty, and had been dressed in rags. An older brother said “All the trouble is caused by mother drinking. Her conduct drives father to the public house, and also drives the boy out. There are no home comforts for any of us.” The mother, present in court, did not deny these allegations.
The boy had been born in October 1902, but in June 1912 had been sent to a truant school. His attendance at this school had been found, nevertheless, to be fair. The whole trouble was seen to be lack of parental control.
The Bench dismissed the charge against the boy, and said that arrangements would be made for him to be received back into the truant school.