Home Crime Theft Goldthorpe Man Rifles Railway Trucks – A Burrowing Thief

Goldthorpe Man Rifles Railway Trucks – A Burrowing Thief

April 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 1, 1927

A Burrowing Thief

Goldthorpe Man Rifles Railway Trucks

George Merricks, miner, of Goldthorpe, who has been remanded in custody from the previous Monday, appeared in the dock at Pontefract West Riding Police Court on Saturday, in connection with three charges of theft from the London and North Eastern Railway company and he pleaded guilty to each one.

Mr GS Dolden, of Marlebone, who prosecute, explained that on February 25 a parcel of closing was sent from Leeds to South Elmsall, arriving at the latter place on February 26.

That day being a Saturday, it was too late for delivery, and accordingly it was left in a truck in the goods warehouse for the weekend.

On the Sunday morning, however the station staff found that the fastenings of the sheet covering the truck had been cut, and that the parcel had been opened and pilfered.

On March 5 another parcel travelling from Bradford to Barnsley was left in the warehouse under similar conditions, and again it was found that somebody had been tramping with it during the Saturday night.

On the 12th another part of directorate from Manchester was pilfered in the same way, the discovery being made by the stationmaster, was surprised to find the warehouse doors open, when they had lean securely locked on the previous night.

Accordingly, a special police watch was set, and on the night of Saturday, March 19, prisoner was seen crossing a field in the direction of the warehouse, which he eventually entered. The watchers heard him inside a wagon, and as he was leaving it he was stopped and questioned. At first he said he had only been there for a sleep, but as there was no straw there he had not stayed.

Later, however, he admitted that he had been to see what he could get, and that he had been there before because he wanted something to eat, and he added that he expected he would get about 18 months for it. Subsequently he admitted having stolen the goods referred to in the charges – because if your clothing, copyright, tinned food, whiskey etc. – which were afterwards recovered from his out. He also admitted that he had gained access to the warehouse by burrowing under the wall, afterwards letting himself out by unfastening the doors.

Evidence in support of this statement was given by Joseph Wells, stationmaster at South Elmsall and Detective Inspector Francis Fenwick.

Prisoner said that owing to illness he had only been able to do five weeks work since the strike, and only wanted food for his wife and children he went to see what he could find. He only took tins of tomato soup, etc on the first occasion, but afterwards he took clothing etc.

The Chairman (Mr WF Tempest) Because you have been on strike is no excuse whatever.

Prisoner: But I have been ill ever since the strike.

In answer to the Chairman, superintendent Fairburn said prisoner had been to a Borstall institution for three years.

The Chairman said the Bench had been considering whether to send prisoner to the Quarter Sessions, but, as he pleaded guilty they decided to deal with him there and then. He had had an opportunity of making good, but I’m not taken it –

Prisoner: I wrote to the Borstal Superintendent for assistance before I did this.

The Chairman can’t Let me finish. I warn you that if, after serving the sentence we are about to pass, you come up again, you will not get off so easily again.

He was committed for three months hard labour on each charge, the sentences to run consecutively making nine months in total.