Hitchin election robberies (extract from article)

Hertfordshire Mercury, 3rd March 1906


……All passed off quietly on Friday evening, and the absence of noise and excitement after the uproar of the three previous days was very welcome to most people. The arrangements made by the police under the direction of Colonel Daniell, the Chief Constable and Supt Reynolds, Deputy Chief Constable, were excellent and carried out with much tact.

No breach of the peace attracted notice anywhere in the town, and there was no malicious injury to property beyond the breaking of one or two notice boards in the outskirts.

Unfortunately, some thieves who it is supposed came down from London, found an opportunity on the polling day of making their way into several houses in the less frequented streets and stealing money, jewellery and watches, the loss caused thereby being considerable – in one case as much as £20.

It is believed that some lads who went about from house to house in the evening on the pretence of offering things for sale obtained information in this way of the houses that were left unattended, the interest in the contest having induced the members of the household to form part of the crowds that assembled near the polling stations.

Thieves who are accustomed to work of this sort find little difficulty in making their way into a house temporarily unoccupied, while their experience in plundering enables them to discover quickly where money and jewellery have been deposited. The housebreaking was done between five and seven o’clock in the evening.

There is some reason to think that the thieves left Hitchin by an up train which starts soon after seven. No clue to their whereabouts has been discovered, and at present there is but little hope of any of the property being recovered. Though the police are of the opinion that the plundering was done by strangers, there are some circumstances to incline one to the belief that it may have been effected by those who knew the habits of the householders…….

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