At Watford Police Court on Tuesday, William Edward Allen, Common Wood House, Chipperfield, was charged with food hoarding. There were 18 summonses, but those relating to tea and jam were withdrawn. Mr Roland Oliver prosecuted and Sir Archibald Bodkin defended.
Mr Oliver said that the charge related to: 134 lbs of sugar, 352 lbs of bacon, 56 lbs of cocoa, 60 lbs of biscuits, 425 lbs of Quaker Oats, Scotch Porridge Oats and oatmeal, 297 lbs of rice, 96 lbs of pearl barley, 31 lbs of macaroni, 41 lbs of lentils, 32 lbs of gelatine, 98 lbs of Lyle’s syrup, 23 tins of condensed milk, 174 packets of turtle cup food, and 19 bottles of chicken essence.
John Robinson, inspector for the local Food Control Committee, stated that he had found the articles mentioned in various parts of the house, including the sitting room, the dining room, the basement, the store room, the bedroom, and the passage.
Mrs Allen, wife of the defendant, said that her household consisted of 12 persons. She had been in correspondence with the Ministry of Food, and had given full details as to her stock. In August, an inspector from the Ministry had called and was shown the stores in the house. He had said that he thought the purchases were very moderate considering the size of the family. She thought she must not touch the goods after the Inspector’s visit, holding them at the disposal of the Ministry. She had procured the bulk of the food in 1915 because she had feared a German invasion. If this had taken place, supplies would have been cut off, and she intended to do what she could for the unfortunate poor people of the district. The biscuits were ordered for boys on their return to Eton and were to be used to save bread.
The Bench fined the defendant £350 and ordered him to pay £112 costs. They also ordered the confiscation of 90% of the goods with the exception of the home produce.