Hertfordshire Mercury, 19th December 1914
Mary Ann Clark (38) and Emma Wheeler (46), both of Wormley, were charged with stealing a quantity of wood, value 3 shillings, the property of Tom Goodwin, of Wormley, on 18th November.
Alfred George Barker, of Wormley Bury Farm, a shepherd, said that at 4.30 in the afternoon he was cycling up from the common and, when near Pound Hill Close, he saw the defendants walking down the road, each wheeling a truck of wood. The witness did not know what sort of wood it was. The Clerk reminded the witness that he had signed a Statement giving a description of the wood, but Barker insisted that he could not say from what tree the wood was taken.
Police Constable Pearman said that he called at Mrs Clark’s house on the 25th November and found both of the defendants there. The witness told them that he was making enquiries about some elm wood that had been stolen from a wood near Pound Hill Close. The defendants replied “We did go to the wood you describe on Wednesday the 18th, but we only had some chips”. The witness searched the house but found no wood.
Tom Goodwin, of Windmill Lane, Cheshunt, who trades in wood, said that he had bought a quantity on 16th November. It was elm wood, felled and heaped. On 26th November, he found that about 2 cartloads of this wood, to the value of 7s 6d each, were missing. The Clerk said “The witness did not suggest that the defendants had stolen two cartloads. He did not know what amount of wood could be placed in a ‘truck’.
Barker, recalled, said that he did not get off his bicycle so he could not therefore state how much wood the defendants had in their possession. The ‘trucks’ appeared to be Tate sugar boxes on wheels.
Goodwin, continuing, said that two such boxes might possibly contain 4s worth of wood. The witness added “I do not wish to press the charge. I know they are poor women”. Mr Jessop, the Clerk, said, however, sharply “It is the same story every time. People institute proceedings and then when they appear say that they do not wish to press the charge. Their only care is to throw the responsibility on to someone else”. Mrs Clark said that the wood consisted of a few little chips, and that they had no logs. The utmost value of the chips would be 6d.
Mrs Wheeler said that a few days after Constable Pearman’s visit, she saw Mr Barker who told her to keep quiet and that no more would then be heard of the matter.
The Chairman said that the Bench were convinced that the defendants had taken wood that did not belong to them and that they would each be fined half a crown, or sent to prison for 5 days.
Isabel Gardiner (42), also of Wormley, was charged with a similar offence on 21st November, the value of the wood being placed at 2 shillings. Constable Pearman said that he went to see Mrs Gardiner at her cottage and in reply to his enquiry respecting missing wood, she replied “Yes, I have some at the back of the house”. The witness took possession of the bags (produced) and the defendant said “I have been twice to the wood”. Tom Goodwin said that he was shown the wood (produced) on 26th November and identified the logs as his property.
This defendant was fined half a crown or 5 days.