Theft of potatoes - a sad tale

Hertfordshire Mercury, 14th September 1907


Charles Stamp (38) and William Watson (42) , labourers , of Caroline Court, Ware, were charged with stealing a quantity of growing potatoes , the property of Mr John Weir, at Thundridge, on August 24th.  Watson had been apprehended on a warrant, and both pleaded guilty.  Police Constable D.H. Gillett stated that at 11.35 p.m. on Saturday , August 24th, he was on duty at the Bourne , near Milton Road, when he saw a man coming round the corner with a bag on his back.  When the man saw the witness, the man turned briskly back.  The witness ran after him, and then ran into the other man, who was also carrying a bag.  He stopped them and asked them what they had got in the bags, and they replied  ”Potatoes”.  Stamp said  “I got them from the allotments up Musely”,  and Watson added  “Off the ground”.

Mr J. Weir valued the potatoes at 2s. 3d.,  and said that they were similar to some that he had growing in a field. The defendants had done a lot of damage , as they had pulled up the roots , picked out the large potatoes, and left the  small ones.

Stamp said he had not had any work for three weeks. He was hungry and had nothing in the house. He did it to get food for his children.  Watson said he had been out of work “..ever so long , longer than Stamp had..”, and took them for the same reason.

The defendants were sent to hard labour for seven days each , the Chairman saying that it was a very deliberate theft.


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