Another 'fowl' deed indeed

Hertfordshire Mercury, 1st June 1918


At an occasional Police Court at Stevenage on Thursday before Mr Francis Villiers, Percy Dearlove, labourer, of Great Munden, was charged with stealing 14 fowls, between 19th and 29th of May, the property of James Perkins, poultry farmer, of Great Munden.

Inspector Bowyer gave formal evidence.  He had, he said, recovered 12 of the 14 fowls.  Dearlove was remanded in custody until the Sessions on Thursday next.

At the following Stevenage Petty Sessions, Percy Dearlove (17), labourer, of Stagg Hall farm, Great Munden, was charged on remand with the theft of 16 live fowls, value £5 12s., the property of James Perkins, Great Munden, between 1st and 29th of May.  Arising out of this charge, George Andrews, farmer, of Wood End, Ardeley, was charged with receiving 8 of the fowls, knowing them to have been stolen.  He pleaded not guilty.  Percy Dearlove said that he had had four different dealings with Andrews, selling him 12 fowls.  Andrews had paid him 1s 6d each for them.  Nothing had been said in conversation as to whose fowls they were.  Andrews asked “Did you not tell me that you hatched them in an incubator”?  “Yes”, replied Dearlove.

Inspector Bowyer said that in a shed attached to the defendant’s house were 6 fowls, amongst others which Mr Perkins identified.  The defendant said that the lad Dearlove told him that he had hatched them in an incubator and that he was going to join the army, Dearlove adding that if he had left the fowls Mr Boswell would only wring their necks.

James Perkins, farmer, of Rush Green Farm, Great Munden, said that he had never had any dealings with Andrews, and that it was possible that the latter did not know his breed of fowls.  The defendant, on oath, said that he bought the fowls honestly, so far as he knew.  If out with Mr Boswell, Dearlove appeared to be more a companion than a labourer.  He admitted that the prices were very low and that he knew the market value but, as a rule, he often got good honest deals by taking people at their word.

Walter Boswell, farmer, of Stagg Hall Farm, said that he had found Dearlove in Southall market last October.  He was with other men and was asking where he could get a job, and said he would go for his bed.  He boarded Dealove, lodged him, and gave him a few shillings pocket money.  He had acted as a father to him.

The mother of the lad, giving an address at Acton Green, thought that Mr Boswell had been very kind to the boy.

Dearlove was bound over and put under the charge of the probation officer for 12 months, the Chairman reminding him that if he did not behave himself he would be brought up again to receive a much more severe sentence.  His employer, Mr Boswell, consented to take the lad back.  The mother refused to be bound over for his future good behaviour.  Andrews was fined £2, the Chairman remarking “You did not exercise caution enough”.

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