Attempted burglary, but the two boys do not escape the law

Hertfordshire Mercury, 26th December 1914


At Hitchin Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, William and George Pateman, aged 12 and 9, of Gascoignes Yard, Hitchin, were charged with committing a burglary on the premises of Messrs Grimbley, Hughes and Co., Market Place, Hitchin, on 9th December.  Richard Marshall, the Manager, said that having occasion to go into the warehouse at about 8.30 p.m. he had heard noises above and sent for the police who, on searching the premises, found the prisoners hiding behind barrels.  The place had been securely locked at 1.30 p.m.  PC Young, who effected the capture, said the boys told him that they had got in by placing a broom against the wall, climbing up the broom, and forcing a window.

Supt Reed, giving details of three other charges, said that the boys left home on the morning of 7th December, and had been reported as missing. Whilst they were missing, the police had received several complaints of robberies, and the lads had admitted committing some of them.

On the Monday night, they had broken into the Hitchin Steam Laundry stealing several articles.  On the Tuesday night, they had broken into the Herts and Beds Bacon Factory, stealing a quantity of sausages, pork pies, sausage rolls, and other articles, some of which they had hidden in a water tank. They were seen climbing out of a window at 2.30 in the morning.

They also broke into a shed in some gardens in Offley Road, where they slept.  They built a fire on the floor and, having stolen four tame rabbits, they killed and skinned them with a pair of scissors stolen from the laundry, cooking them in an old tin can, together with some onions and carrots.

Remarking that it was a very funny story, and that the rabbits were ‘the limit’, the Chairman said that the Bench had decided to bind the boys over and place them on probation for 12 months.

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