Poaching at Panshanger

Hertfordshire Mercury, 23rd January 1915


At Hertford County Sessions on Saturday, Herbert Wright, of 11 Wellington Street, Hertford, and Samuel Playle, of 54 Wellington Street, were summoned for being found upon land belonging to Lord Desborough in search of game, on January 10.  Both defendants pleaded guilty.

Fred Griffin, gamekeeper to Lord Desborough, stated that, on Sunday January 10, he was in a wood called Sale Broom Wood, the property of Lord Desborough, in company with another keeper at 5 o’clock, when they heard a gun shot, and immediately went in the direction of the sound.  As they were going along the riding they saw two men.  One of these stood in the riding whilst the other went scrambling in the undergrowth  after a pheasant; and they heard the bird call as it was caught.  Knowing that they could not catch the men by rushing along the riding, they ran to the top of the wood and waited for them.  Presently the men came along, and when they got quite close witness and the other keeper sprang at them.  Witness made sure of his man, Playle, but Sapsford, the other keeper, missed his man, who ran away.

Sapsford chased him across the fields for half a mile into a wood called Hanging Grove Wood, where he lost him.  Meanwhile witness held his man and asked him what he had got, and he said he had a pheasant, which witness took from him.  He then asked him where the gun was, and he said the other man had got it.  Witness said: ‘That’s all right, we know the other man perfectly well’.  When the other keeper came back and said he had lost his man, witness asked Playle for his name and address, which he gave correctly, but as he was not quite satisfied he took him to the headkeeper, Mr Barnes, and, as he was not satisfied either, he took Playle to the Police Station at Hertford, where he was at once identified by the police.  Wright was seen the next morning and admitted that he was with Playle.  A fine of 10s. each was inflicted.

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