Theft of pigeons at Ware

Hertfordshire Mercury, 24th February 1914


William Godfrey, aged 9 years, son of George Godfrey, a bricklayer of Kibes Lane, and Henry Goodey, aged 14 years, son of Arthur Goodey, a bargeman of Crib Street, were charged with stealing three pigeons, to the value of 3 shillings, which were the property of young John Lawrence of 26 Bowling Road.  This happened on Sunday,  January 21st 1914.

John Lawrence, a boy nine years of age living at 26 Bowling Road, had said he kept some pigeons in his father’s back-yard. They were enclosed with wire and could not get out. They were safe when he went to church on Sunday, January 21st, but when he went to feed them the next morning they were missing. The two pigeons produced were shown to him afterwards by the police, and he identified them as his.

PC Perry stated that on Monday afternoon, January 22nd, he went to 24 Kibes Lane, where he saw the boy William Godfrey and asked him if he kept any pigeons. The boy replied that he had four or five, and that he caught one which flew down into his yard that morning.  He then went upstairs and fetched the pigeon down.  PS Boarder then came up with John Lawrence who identified the bird as his.  They had then proceeded to 49 Crib Street, and had seen Mrs Goodey.  She had shown them some pigeons, and the boy Lawrence had identified one of them as his.

Later, they saw William Godfrey, and he had made a statement in the presence of his parents.  PS Boarder corroborated the Constable’s evidence, and said that Godfrey had told him that Goodey had given the pigeon to him on the Sunday evening.  After having gone to see Henry Goodey, he said that on the Sunday night he had gone with Godfrey and had stolen the pigeons from 26 Bowling Road, and that his (Goodey’s) brother had been watching from the roadway.  The witness afterwards saw Godfrey, and the latter admitted that he stole the pigeons in company with Goodey whilst the Lawrence’s were at church on the Sunday evening. They took one each, and one flew away.

Godfrey’s father had abused the witness very much when he had served him with the summons.

Both of the boys pleaded guilty. Superintendent Reed, in answer to the Bench, said that there was nothing personally against the boys, but he would call the attention of the Magistrates to the fact that he had received several complaints recently as to pigeons being stolen, although of course he did not wish to insinuate that these boys were the only thieves.

He also pointed out that the younger boy, Godfrey, told lies from the beginning to the end until he was found out, and his father was very abusive to the Sergeant for simply carrying out his duty.


In the case of Godfrey a fine of 10 shillings was inflicted.

As the boy Goodey owned up to the offence when he was directly asked about the situation, he was fined a smaller amount of 5 shillings.

This page was added on 19/10/2013.

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