Stealing barley - carrying the can (petty sessions)

Hertfordshire Mercury, 11th May 1907


John Parnell, of 46 Musley Hill, Ware was charged with stealing a quantity of barley, the property of Messrs H. Ward and Sons, on April 27th. P.S. Moles stated that on April 27th, about 10 a.m., he was on duty in Collet Road, Ware, when defendant passed him carrying the tea-can produced.

He noticed the defendant was carrying the can very carefully, and followed him, but defendant quickened his pace. As witness knew he kept pigeons and was a maltmaker, he became suspicious, and stopped him and asked him what he had in the can. Defendant said, ”nothing”. Witness took the lid off the can and saw that it was full of barley, and asked  ”what is this?”. Defendant replied that it was only a little rough stuff which he got from Flacks Yard, but no one had given him permission to take it.

Mr W. S. Ward, of Messrs H Ward and Sons, said the defendant was at that time in their employ. The barley produced was worth sixpence. He gave the defendant a good character, and he had now been discharged from his firm’s employment. Defendant elected to have the case settled at once and pleaded guilty. The Chairman said the bench had taken into consideration that it was the defendant’s first offence. At the same time it was a very serious thing for a man in his position, trusted with property of value as he was, to take grain in this way. Unfortunately the police were aware that a great deal of this sort of thing was going on in the town, and there was a great deal of grain stolen for feeding pigeons and rabbits. Defendant would be fined 20 shillings or 14 days’ imprisonment.

The next case brought before them of a similar kind would be dealt with more severely because the Bench thought that a servant who steals his master’s goods was a person more guilty than a burglar who came from outside and took them.

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