Daring robbery at Cheshunt

Hertfordshire Mercury, 11th December 1915


At about 10 o’clock on Saturday night, Mr A.C. Driver, newsagent and stationer, of Crossbrook Street, Cheshunt, was attacked in his house by two men, bound with ropes, and robbed of about £14, the men getting clear away before Mr Driver was able to raise the alarm.  Mr Driver, who has been in business at Cheshunt for 25 years, during the last seven of which he has resided at 109 Crossbrook Street, is a much respected tradesman and well-known in the Cheshunt end of the parish.

What occurred on Saturday night was the work of a few minutes, and it happened at a time when few people were about and when, as evidently the thieves knew, the police were changing over duties, the day men coming off and the night duty men just starting their rounds.  Mr Driver, who lives alone, had just left his shop and gone into the back parlour to have his supper.  Before he had time to occupy a chair, two men marched through the shop into the parlour, made some remark about a boy, and attacked Mr Driver.  One of them threw a sack over his head, whilst the other tied his legs and arms.  They then thrust him with considerable violence into an armchair, and under a threat of personal injury if he shouted, proceeded to ransack the parlour and shop.

With his head enveloped in a sack, and his arms and legs bound, Mr Driver was powerless to resist, and in a few minutes the men left the shop.  After a time Mr Driver managed to free his legs and hands from the cords, and then, releasing his head from the sack, was able, although badly shaken, to proceed to his next-door neighbour, Mr Barnes, and raise the alarm.  The police were communicated with by telephone, and Detective-Sergt. Childs and other officers were quickly on the scene, and are making investigations.

When Mr Driver had recovered somewhat from his unpleasant experience, he found that the thieves had carried off boxes of copper and silver, totalling about £14.  It is said by neighbours that two men were seen hanging about in the vicinity about half an hour before the robbery took place.

Mr Driver, who has been an agent for the sale of the ‘Mercury’ for many years, narrated the following story to a reporter on Monday: ‘I had just finished settling up with one of my boys, and went from the shop to the back parlour with the intention of having my supper.  Before I had time to get a chair to sit down on, two men came right through the shop into the parlour.  One of them said to me; ‘I have come to speak to you about that boy’.  I did not know what he meant, and before I could answer him, he caught hold of me and threw me into an arm-chair.  The legs of the chair gave way, and I fell to the floor.  The men then put a sack over my head, and tied my wrists and my legs with cords.  They threatened to blow my brains out if I made a noise.

Although I could not see I could hear the men searching the room and I heard them pick up some money.  They then left the room, shutting the door, and went into the shop.  I could hear them at the till, and then they went out.  I struggled to free myself and after a time was able to release my wrists.  I then removed the sack from my head, and unfastened the cords around my legs.  I went in next door to Mr and Mrs Barnes  and gave the alarm.  Mrs Trotter telephoned for the police.

The men took away four tin boxes containing copper and silver, and also the money in the till.  They did not, however, take some Treasury Notes which were in a little box in the till.  They took altogether, between £12 and £14.’

On Tuesday evening two men were apprehended by Detective-Sergeant Childs, and detained at the police station.  On Wednesday they were put up for identification and one of them was identified as having been seen in the vicinity of Mr Driver’s shop on Saturday Night.  He is William Wallace, aged 25, of 1 Rowland Fields, Cheshunt, described as a labourer, and he was subsequently brought before Mr J. Cull and charged with ‘being concerned with another man, not in custody, with stealing from the shop and shop parlour of 109 Crossbrook Street, the sum of £12, the monies of Mr Driver; also with assaulting Mr Driver.’

Formal evidence of arrest was given by Detective-Sergt. Childs, and the accused was remanded until next Wednesday.

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