Letter of the law - stealing letters from pillar boxes At Ware

Hertfordshire Mercury, 2nd February 1907


John Richens, of Church Street, and George Perry, of Kibes Lane, Ware, were charged with stealing letters from a Post Office pillar box on divers dates in January. Mr H.S. Hawks, of Hertford, appeared for the prosecution.

Alfred Thomas Adams, postman, stated that it was part of his duty at the beginning of January to clear the pillar boxes at Scott’s Hill and Highfields. On January 6th he found them smeared with birdlime . He reported the matter and was directed to clean the boxes, which he did. On January 15th he was told to clean them again, as they were again smeared with birdlime. On both occasions the letters in the boxes had birdlime on them.

P.C. Hyatt stated that on January 25th he concealed himself in the vicinity of the letter box opposite Scott’s Hill House at 5 p.m. and at 5.35 he heard a man walking up and down Highfields Road, and after five minutes had passed the man came to the letter box and placed a stone (produced), which was attached to a string and stick and had birdlime on it, into the letter box three times.

Someone came up Walton Road and disturbed him and he crossed the road, but returned afterwards and again dropped the stone into the letter box four times. He was again disturbed, and witness seized him as he was turning away for the second time. On searching the defendant he found the box of birdlime (produced). He then took the man, whom he recognised as Richens, to the police station.

P.S. Moles said that when Richens was brought to the police station he made the following statement.” Bobo Perry first showed me how to do it .We have been up there four times. We was up there last night at about quarter to six. Last Tuesday me and Perry got two letters and two postcards, and Perry tore them up. In one of the letters was a cheque for £3. Perry took it and put it in his coat pocket. It was made payable to some reverend.”

Witness apprehended Perry the same evening in High Street and took him to the police station, where the statement was read over to him in the presence of Richens, and Perry said ”I have nothing to say. I tore the cheque up and burnt it.”

On searching the garden belonging to Mr John Hammond, which was in the vicinity of the pillar boxes, witness found a number of pieces of letter (produced). These had been pieced together,and one of them was identified by Miss Dora Goodfellow, of Ware.

Supt Duke corroborated as to the statements made by the prisoners, and the finding of the letters in Mr Hammond’s garden. He produced a second letter which had been pasted together, and found it was from Miss Glasspool, of Highfields to Mrs Garratt, of Queen’s Road, Hertford.

Miss Dora Goodfellow, of 3, Warner Road, Ware, identified the second letter, dated January 21st, which was posted on January 22nd by the house-boy, Bertie Dear, who, when called, said that he noticed some birdlime on the letter-box when he posted it. He had noticed the same thing several times previously.

Mrs Lewis Garratt, of Hertford, proved that she did not receive the letter.

The prisoners were then formally charged, but made no reply, and were committed for trial at the Assizes next week.






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