Hertfordshire Mercury, 12th January 1918
At Waltham Abbey Petty Sessions on Tuesday, John Mason, of 52 Adam Street, Bishop’s Stortford, pleaded guilty to having matches in his possession at the Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey, on 21st December 1917. A box containing about 20 matches was found on him by one of the factory police and, when told that he had rendered himself liable to prosecution, he told the police officer that usually he was most careful about searching himself before entering the factory.
Major Evans, Superintendent of the factory, said that Mason bore a very good character hitherto. He had been working at the factory for eight months and his average earnings were £5 15s 10d per week.
The Bench imposed a fine of £20. The defendant asked “Can I have time to pay, sir?” The Chairman, Mr A.J. Edwards, said “You can have a month, but you must pay at the rate of £5 a week”. The defendant said “I have two homes to keep, sir. I have my mother to look after”. The Chairman responded “Well, I can’t help that. You are lucky not to be sent to prison”.