At Hertfordshire Assizes on Monday, Ezekiel Franklin (30), dealer, was indicted for stealing a quantity of straw belonging to Samuel King, at Rickmansworth, on October 25; also with receiving two sacks of stolen oats, the property of Colin Taylor, King & Co., at Bushey, on October 2.
The straw case was taken first.
A man named James Clark, a dairyman, was driving along the road between Watford and Rickmansworth when he saw the prisoner at the side of the road with a horse and van taking straw from Mr King’s stack in the adjoining field.
P.S. Berry gave evidence as to finding some of the straw in the prisoner’s stables.
The prisoner’s defence was that he picked up two armfuls of straw that was lying beside the road.
The jury found him guilty, and a long list of previous convictions was proved, a good many of them for the same kind of offence. He joined the Army Service Corps in September last year, and had since been discharged as an undesirable person for the Army.
The prisoner pleaded hard for leniency on account of his wife and children and asked to be given one more chance, saying he would join the Army.
The Judge said the prisoner’s record deprived him of the privilege of belonging to an honourable profession like the Army. Since 1900 he had a long series of convictions for stealing meat, cash, a horse, and many other things, besides 15 summary convictions for using obscene language.
He was sentenced to 18 months’ hard labour.