Sounds fishy - shop breaking at Hertford

Hertfordshire Mercury, 10th February 1906


George Dunnage, 26, labourer, of Hertford, pleaded not guilty of feloniously breaking and entering the shop of Walter Ramsey, fishmonger, Railway Street, Hertford, and stealing a quantity of fried fish and a fish tray, of the value of 8s., on January 29th.

Mr P. Henriques, who appeared for the prosecution, stated that on the night in question the fish shop of Mr Ramsey was properly shut up, nobody sleeping on the premises. The assistant who looked after the shop locked up shortly after 11 p.m. He left a lot of fish there. Just before 12 o’clock a policeman passed the premises and they were intact, but when he passed again a little later he noticed that the window was broken. A man named Miles would be able to state that he saw the prisoner take a stone, smash the window and get in, and take away some fish.

Walter Ramsey stated that on the morning of 30th January he was informed that his Railway Street shop had been broken into. On going to the shop he noticed that the window was broken and fish lying about the place. He afterwards discovered a tray with some fish in the stable of an adjoining yard. He valued the tray at 2s. and the missing fish at 6s.

William Langdon said he left the tray of fish on the counter when he locked up the shop on the night in question. There were no shutters on the window but blinds inside, so that no one would be able to see what was inside. Dunnage was a customer, and had been in the shop.

Alfred Miles, of 27, Cowbridge, said that he saw Dunnage pick up a stone and break the window. He afterwards pulled out the broken pieces of glass, got into the shop, brought out the fish, and ate some of it. Prisoner was drunk and did not know what he was doing. Another man called Archer was also looking on, and he was also drunk. In cross-examination the witness denied that he took the broken glass out, or that the prisoner handed the fish tray to him. He was twenty yards away on the other side of the road.

P.C. Huckle and P.C. Hyatt having given evidence. The Prisoner said he was innocent. Miles broke the window and took the glass out.

Prisoner’s statement before the Magistrates that Miles was as bad as he was having been read over, the jury found the prisoner guilty.

P.C. Sullivan proved previous convictions.

His Lordship : Does he give way to drink ?

Witness : Very frequently.

His Lordship : Yes, that is at the bottom of three-fourths of all these things. I am afraid it is nothing but the drink that caused you to do this, Dunnage. I strongly suspect there is a good deal of bravado about it, or else that you were not the only one concerned in it. You must go to hard labour for three months.

The court adjourned at 6.40 p.m.

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