Schoolboy's remarkable escapades

Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th January 1915


For the second time within a short period a schoolboy, named Herbert Warman, aged 9, appeared before the Hitchin Magistrates on Tuesday on a charge of larceny.  It appeared from the evidence of Mrs Kate Levitt, a widow living at St Ippolyts, that she cycled in to Hitchin Post Office on the previous Tuesday, leaving her bicycle, to which was attached a basket, outside.  When she came out the basket, containing Navy papers, 1 shilling in cash, a silver brooch, two lamp glasses, a pair of braces, and a leather purse, was gone.  The Navy papers had reached her again through the post, and she identified the brooch (produced) as the one she had lost.  An errand boy named Pateman spoke to seeing Warman take the bag and run off with it, and a girl named Hawkins spoke to the lad giving her the brooch at the Playhouse the same evening, saying he had found it.  The Bench convicted, and Mr Andrews, the probation officer, gave the boy a very bad character, remarking that he thought he was slightly mentally deficient, while Supt Reed informed the Bench that only a week previously, the lad was found at midnight in the station yard at Cambridge, having paid his fare there earlier in the day.  His father had him brought back, and he (Supt Reed) had given him a severe talking to, but a day or two later this offence occurred.  The Bench decided to remand him to the workhouse for a week.  Within an hour of his reception at the workhouse the authorities informed the police that he had escaped, leaving his boots and stockings behind.  The Police and Boy Scouts were put on his trail, and during the course of the afternoon, while Supt Reed was proceeding down Bancroft, he observed the boy in the distance.  At the same moment the boy observed him, and dashed off, with Supt Reed in pursuit.  After an exciting chase through Bancroft and the churchyard the lad was again captured and conveyed to the cells.

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