George Lawrence, a boy, of 68, Kibes Lane, Ware, was charged with stealing a quantity of beans, the property of Mr Clark, of Cannon’s Farm. PC Simpson stated that on the 13th August he met prisoner in the old lane leading to Mr Croft’s farm. He was carrying a bag, and in reply to questions said it contained beans which he had got from Mr Clark’s field. He added that he was out of work and was going to try and sell the beans. Walter George Clark, of Cannon’s Farm said the beans were taken from a field where they had been been harvesting. Prisoner pleaded guilty and elected to be tried summarily.
Another boy named Henry Page, of High Oak Road, Ware, was then charged with committing a similar offence. PS Moles said that on the 20th August he was on the path leading from Trinity Road to Mr Clark’s farm when he saw prisoner carrying a sack of beans. He admitted to witness that he had taken them from Mr Croft’s and Mr Clark’s fields, and said there was a lot of bigger boys still taking them.
Supt Duke said it was a very disgraceful thing for persons to purchase beans and other things from boys, when they must know they had not come by them honestly. The receivers were far more to blame than the thieves.
There was a third case, in which William Perry, aged 12, of Kibes Lane, Ware was concerned. PS Moles said that on 20th August he saw a number of boys in Mr Croft’s field putting something into bags. He went to them and they ran away. He followed prisoner to his home and found there the bag of beans produced.
Prisoner admitted that he got them from Mr Croft’s field, and another boy told witness that they were fetched from Mr Clark’s field into Mr Croft’s field. The Clerk remarked to the mother of the prisoner that it was a suspicious thing for the beans to be found in her house. She replied that she did not know anything about it and had no wish for her son to act in this way.
The Chairman said that the Bench had decided that Lawrence should receive six strokes with the birch rod and the other two boys three strokes each. The Magistrates were quite in accord with the remarks of Supt Duke. There were people in the town who were in a sense worse than the boys themselves, because they were ready to buy what the boys had stolen, which was an inducement to them to steal. If any receivers were brought before the bench they would deal very severely with them. Parents who allowed their children to bring stolen goods into their houses were very much to blame, and were punishable by law. Supt Duke said he would do his best to bring some of the receivers before the Bench.