Charge of stealing harness

Hertfordshire Mercury, 25th May 1907


Harkless Smith, of no fixed abode, was charged with stealing a set of brass-mounted harness, of which he was the bailee, on May 18th.

Charles Stanley Roundtree, landlord of the Prince Of Wales beerhouse, Goffs Oak, stated that on Saturday morning he engaged the defendant to cart some grass, and when he had done defendant asked for the loan of the horse, trap and harness to move his tent, which was situated in Lucas End Lane, and which the police had ordered him to move away. Witness let him have it on condition that he brought it back in an hour’s time. The man did not return.

Subsequently the landlady of the Rising Sun, Hammond Street, brought the harness to witness to enquire if it belonged to him. He then placed the matter in the hands of the police and defendant was arrested near Newgate Street with the pony and trap in his possession. He valued the harness at £2 10s. The prisoner received another set of harness and 25 shillings for it.

Alice King, widow of John William King, of the Rising Sun, Hammond Street, said that on Saturday the prisoner came to her house at about 2 p.m. and offered for sale the harness produced, which she bought for 25 shillings and the exchange of her own set of harness.

Prisoner: Did you ask me about the harness first ?

Witness: Yes, I asked if it was your pony, trap and harness and you said “Yes” and then you said

“Yes, would you like to buy it ?”

PC Darlington stated that at 6.30 p.m. on May 18th he was in Burton’s Lane, Goffs Oak, when the prosecutor made a communication to him concerning the theft. He proceeded to Appleby Street,  and there saw the defendant driving a pony and trap. He arrested him on the charge of stealing the harness and took him to Cheshunt police station.

PS Balcombe, who was present when defendant was charged at the station, said defendant stated that the pony, trap and harness were all his own property, but on the following morning when charged before a Magistrate he pleaded guilty, and said that they all belonged to Mr Rowntree.

PS Gurnett asked for a remand, stating that he had received some papers from Scotland Yard that morning and had reason to believe that the defendant had previously been convicted for crime, but he had not had time to make investigations.

Defendant was remanded for a week.

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