The terrors of the birch

Hertfordshire Mercury, 23rd January 1915

Transcript

Charles Skinner, aged 9 years, was summoned before a Children’s Court for stealing a pint of new milk, valued at twopence, the property of Mr W. Readley, dairyman, of Star Street, Ware, on January 13.

Walter Readley said that on January 13, about 7.15 a.m., he left a pint of new milk in a can hanging on the door of the ‘Bell and Sun’, West Street, as was his usual custom.  As the customer had complained previously about the milk having gone he called back to see if she had had the milk, and he ascertained that she had not had it again that morning.  P.C. Harwood said that on the date in question he kept observation, through complaints of having milk been taken.  About 7.30 a.m. he saw the defendant carrying a white jug (produced) up West Street.  The can at the ‘Bell and Sun’ was then empty, and it had been full just previously, when he saw it.

Witness asked the boy where he had got the milk from, and he replied ‘from Mrs Down’s can in West Street’.  Witness took the milk and accompanied the lad to his home in Kibes Lane, where he saw the mother, who stated that she had given him a penny to buy some milk.  She then asked the boy what he had done with the penny and he produced it from his pocket.  He also admitted that he took milk the previous morning from Mrs. Down’s can and Mrs Bishop’s can.  Witness then took the defendant to the Police Station.

The boy pleaded guilty, and, after some minute’s retirement by the Bench, the Chairman gave the lad some good advice, and a severe warning, and ordered the birch rod to be shown to the boy, explaining that he was liable to receive six strokes with it.

On this occasion he would be bound over for six months to come up for judgment if called upon.

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