Loafing about !

Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th December 1916


AThomas Clegg, 17, was charged with stealing a loaf of bread from the cart of Mr E. Searle of Hunsdon.  Mrs Mary Searle, the wife of the prosecutor, said that she had been delivering bread in Acorn Street, Hunsdon, on 6th December, and had received a report that a boy had been seen taking a loaf of bread from her cart.  She had seen the boy and had asked him for the loaf, but had also asked him why he had taken it.  He replied “Because I was hungry”.  She had said to him “Why didn’t you ask for some?  I would have given you something to eat”.

P.C. John Robinson, stationed at Hunsdon, said that his attention had been called to the boy and he had asked him what he had been doing about the district.  The defendant replied that he had tramped from Portsmouth, through London, had slept by the roadside, and had reached Hunsdon.  He had been in Portsmouth because he would have liked to have joined the Royal Navy, but they had refused to take him because of his age.

Supt Handley said that, when searched, the defendant had upon him a silver wrist watch, a metal watch, two electric torches, a toilet case, and other articles.  He found that the lad had come from Lancashire and, from a report received, he was a very stubborn and wilful boy.  His people, however, were most respectable.  Upon the charges being read to him, the defendant pleaded guilty.

Mr H. Andrews, probation officer, reported that he had secured a home for the boy to go to if he were to be placed on probation where he could be kept until he was old enough to join the Navy.  From enquiries made, he feared that the boy had been mixed up in bad company.

The Court found the defendant guilty, placed him on probation for two years, and thanked the probation officer for his kind interest.

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