At Welwyn Petty Sessions, Stuart Simkins, of Pegs Lane, Hertford, and Charles Reynolds, of 6 Thornton Street, The Folly, Hertford, were charged with feloniously stealing a quantity of tools, valued at 5 shillings, at Woolmer Green, on 10th April. Both pleaded not guilty.
William Goff, of Woolmer Green, said that he had been at home mending his bicycle on the date named, and had a quantity of tools there. He had left them in the wash-house at about 6 o’clock. He did not lock the place up, but just fastened the door. At 11.00 a.m. the next day, he had gone to the wash-house and had found some of his tools missing. He informed the police the next day, but a man had called on him on the Sunday and had shown him a pair of gas pliers, and he had recognised them as the pair that he had lost. He valued the tools at 5 shillings. He did not know the defendants.
Mrs Fletcher, wife of the landlord of the Fox beer-house at Woolmer Green, said that, at about midnight on the date named she had heard voices in the yard. She had gone to the window, had called out, and had asked what they had wanted. They said that they wanted some beer. She told them that they would get something else if she were to let the dog loose, so they went away!
Ernest Nash, of Codicote, said that, on 11th April, he had been on his rounds in Datchworth and had met his brother. While they had been talking together, the two defendants had come up the road and had asked the witness to buy some tools. The witness then bought the four tools offered to him for 8 pence. On the Sunday morning, he had been for a walk and, hearing that some tools had been stolen from the Fox, and having one tool that he had bought still in his pocket, he went and showed it to Mrs Fletcher. Later, he gave the tools up to the Police Sergeant.
Police Sergeant Wood, of Welwyn, stated that Simkins was apprehended on Easter Monday, and Reynolds later on the same week. In answer to the charge, Simkins made no reply, but Reynolds said “I did not steal them. I did not see the tools until we came out of the yard when Simkins showed them to me. I never handled the tools. Simkins sold them to Ernest Nash for 8 pence”.
A list of 21 previous convictions was recorded against Simkins, and the Bench sentenced him to 3 months’ hard labour. They considered that Reynolds, who had no previous convictions against him, had been led astray by Simkins and he was thus bound over and placed on probation for 12 months.