Youthful offenders birched

Heetfordshire Mercury, 2nd March 1907


George Storey, 10 and Alfred Storey, 9, boys living in Kibes Lane, Ware, were summoned for stealing a bicycle pump on December 1st. P. C. Frogley stated that on Saturday February 2nd, whilst making enquiries in another case he received the bicycle pump (produced) from a boy named William George. He afterwards saw the defendants and asked them about the pump which they had sold to William George two months previously. They at first said they knew nothing about it, but afterwards admitted stealing it from a bicycle in the High-street Chapel-passage, and selling it for 6d. to a boy at Mr Youngs’.

Henry Hawkes, of Park Road, Ware, identified the pump as the property of Mr W. H. Lee, by whom he was employed as a clerk. They missed it from the bicycle about December 1st. It was worth 1s. 3d. William George, of Warren Terrace, Bengeo , said he was in the employ of Mr Youngs, baker, and he identified the pump as one he bought from the boys for sixpence in Church Street, Ware, on December 1st.

The Chairman: Did they offer it to you ?

Witness: Yes

The Chairman: Why ?

Witness : I don’t know

The Magistrates’ Clerk: Had you ever told them that you wanted to buy one ?

Witness : Yes, about a month before they told me they had sold a bicycle pump for sixpence, and I told them that I would have bought it if I had known they had one for sale. Then they brought me this one and they said they had found it, and I bought it.

The boys pleaded guilty.

The younger boy, Alfred Storey and William Suckling were then charged with stealing another bicycle pump on February 2nd. George Cornell, gamekeeper, of Old Farm, Wareside, said that on February 2nd he cycled to Ware and went to the Punch House, leaving his bicycle outside. When he came out a boy called his attention to something, and he saw that his pump was gone. He gave information to the police. He identified the pump now produced as his and valued it at 2 shillings. P. C. Frogley stated that he saw the two boys, and Suckling said ”Storey told me to take it off the bicycle. I did so, and laid it up on the side of the wall. Storey picked it up and ran to Baines’ yard and said  ‘Where shall we hide it?’ I said ‘I don’t know.’ Storey said ‘We’ll hide it up this yard’ and we did so. We then ran away.” Storey made a similar statement, and witness afterwards recovered the pump from the yard named. Both boys pleaded guilty.

The Chairman said the Magistrates were sorry to see such young boys beginning to thieve so early in life, and they were going to give them something which they hoped would stop them stealing in future, and be a warning to other boys in Ware.

They would each receive three strokes with the birch rod. Speaking to the witness William George, the Chairman said he must have known the pump was stolen, and he had by buying it encouraged the others to steal. He deserved a whipping as much as they did, and he must consider himself lucky he was not charged also. He must take warning and not do anything of the kind again.


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