Borrowed or 'nicked'!

Hertfordshire Mercury, 4th November 1916


At Buntingford Petty Sessions, Ernest J. Gatward, 17, a labourer, of Tannis Court, Aspenden, who had been placed on probation at the last Bench hearing, was charged with stealing a quantity of brass to the value of 10 shillings, the property of Arthur Webb of Aspenden.

The prosecutor, a horsekeeper in the employ of Mr Rowley of Tannis Court Farm, said that on the 25th October at 5 a.m. he went into the stables and noticed that the brasses now produced in court were missing.  They included a double fore brass, a single fore brass, a brass swinger, and three brass rosettes.  They were his property as horsekeeper.

The defendant said that he had nothing to ask of the witness, but he did say that he took the brasses as he wanted to put them on a horse to go to Baldock, and that he had intended to return them the following morning.

Cecil Charles, a Cottered lad, said that on the morning of 25th October, the prisoner had given him the swinger.  In the afternoon, he had bought the single fore brass from him for 6d.  The prisoner had told him that he had a box full worth 10 shillings.

Eric Harper, 17, a carter of Baldock Lane, Buntingford, said that on the morning of 25th October, the prisoner had asked him if he wanted to buy any brasses and he had said “No”.  But, at about night time, he had seen the defendant again and had bought a double fore brass from him for 3d.  He had asked the defendant if the brasses were his and he had said “Yes”, and that he had a box full at home.  Harper then gave the prisoner 7 Woodbines for the two side brasses.

PC Mapley gave evidence of arrest.  At first, he said, the defendant had denied all knowledge of the brasses, but afterwards admitted that he had stolen two of them.  After being cautioned, he had produced one of the rosettes from his pocket, and admitted that he had gone to the stables at Tannis Court Farm at about 4.30 a.m. on the 25th October and had stolen the brasses.  He admitted selling brasses to both Harper and Charles.  The prisoner pleaded guilty.

The Chairman said that it was a very serious offence, and that he would be committed to prison for one month’s hard labour.

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