Theft from Wormley butcher's shop - part 1

Hertfordshire Mercury, 3rd March 1906


Alfred Lee, Alfred Hunt and Jon Aldridge of Wormley were brought up at the Cheshunt Petty Sessions on Wednesday charged with stealing six pounds of beef, value 4 shillings, and two rabbits, value 2 shillings, the property of Thomas William Smith, butcher, on January 30th.

PC Gray, of Wormley, stated that on Tuesday January 30th, about 6 p.m., he was on duty in Wormley.

He kept observation on Mr Smith’s shop in consequence of something he had been told, and saw the three defendants, whom he knew quite well, about 6.15, pass to and fro by the shop. Aldridge went and stood against the gate where witness lived, about twenty yards from the shop. He then went towards the shop and said to Lee ”It’s alright he’s not about”. They passed up and down several times and Aldridge then went towards The Globe, about 15 or 20 yards from the shop. Hunt went to the side of the shop, against the gate leading into the yard.

Lee went across the road to the front of the shop and leaned through the window, and the witness saw him with both hands take the piece of meat produced, which was on a counter inside the shop. Lee handed the meat to Hunt, and then went back to the shop and took two rabbits (one of which was produced) from off the rail in front of the shop. All three defendants then ran away.

Witness came out from where he had been hiding and in company with Mr Smith chased the men up Church Lane. Hunt was caught in a field by Mr Smith’s man and witness took him into custody. Witness afterwards found Aldridge at his home in Occupation Road and arrested him. In Church Lane he found a rabbit lying in the road and a piece of beef in the ditch. Witness said to Aldridge ”You know where you were about 6.30 tonight?” and he replied ”I do: its the first time I’ve been on the job”. Witness took him into custody. Witness and P.C. Hawkins then went in search of Lee, who was subsequently brought to witness’s house by Hawkins. Witness conveyed all three to Hoddesdon Police Station, where they were charged and made no reply.

Mr Thomas William Smith, butcher, of Wormley stated that about 6.30 p.m., he saw Lee take a piece of beef and afterwards two rabbits from his shop. He corroborated the Constable’s evidence as to chasing the defendants. He valued the meat at 4 s. and the rabbits at 1 shillings each – 6 shillings altogether. Thomas Gutteridge, in the employ of Mr Smith, gave evidence as to chasing the defendants and catching Hunt. The defendants, who had nothing to say, were committed for trial at the Assizes next week.

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