25 April 1903

At the Hyde Borough Police Court, on Monday, Henry SHEPLEY, 16 Ellison-street, Ashton-under-Lyne, was charged with attempting to steal from the person in Market-street, Hyde, on April 18th. – Mr J A GARFORTH appeared for the prisoner.

The Chief Constable said this was one of the meanest kind of offences, and one of the most difficult for detection. If the case were proved, he hoped the Bench would inflict such a penalty as would be example to others.

John Charles JOHNSON, a piecer, living at 53 Riding-lane, Hyde, stated that he had known the prisoner by sight for the last eighteen months. He saw him at ten minutes past nine on Saturday last in Market-street, near the Clarendon Hotel. He saw him attempting to pick the pocket of a lady whist she was getting on a car. Prisoner was supposed to be helping her in the car, but he was really picking her pocket.

Witness gave information to Detective-Sergeant ATKINSON, and continued to watch him. Prisoner kept following the cars from the Clarendon Hotel to Greenfield Mill. He attempted to pick two pockets by mixing up with the people as they were getting in. He could have got on the first car if he had wanted. The reason why he watched him was because he had seen him attempt to pick pockets before. He saw prisoner arrested by Sergeant ATKINSON, and he was attempting to pick a pocket. Cross-examined, witness had never known him personally. He did not know whether prisoner was a respectable man, and did not know the family.

John ATKINSON, 7 Rochfort-street, Hyde, a cabinet maker, stated that on Saturday night he was with the last witness. Prisoner kept walking from Greenfield Mill to the Clarendon Hotel, and as people got round the tram he mixed with them and tried to pick their pockets. He saw him watch about four cars. Prisoner could have got on the first or second car if he wanted. He saw him twice attempting to pick pockets. – Cross-examined: He never saw him take anything. He must be a poor hand if he did not get something.

Detective-Sergeant ATKINSON stated that on Saturday night he watched the prisoner from what the first witness had told him. He saw him first at the corner of Corporation-street, and he went as far as Greenfield Mill, where a car was stopped. Some people were trying to get on the car, and prisoner went behind them. He got hold of the dresses of two ladies as though he were looking for their pockets, and when they got on the car he walked away in the direction of the Clarendon Hotel.

He could easily have got on that car, which was going in the direction of Ashton. Prisoner stood on the footpath on the opposite side to the Clarendon Hotel. There was a car stopped in the loop which had come from Gee Cross. He followed the people in the rear and acted as before. Witness went to change his coat and hat and watched him again.

Prisoner again mixed with the people. Witness was very close to him, and he saw him put his hand in a lady’s pocket. He refused to give any account of himself whatever when he brought him to the police station. In answer to the charge prisoner said, “I was not trying to pick pockets.” On searching him he found a slip of paper in his pocket containing his name and address, which he ascertained was correct.

Cross-examined: He found a shilling in his pocket. He was not alone. There was another man with him whom witness arrested on Sunday morning, but did not proceed with the charge.

The Chief Constable said that was the case for the present. He had a sergeant from Ashton whom he wished to call later on. Prisoner was then charged. He elected to be tried there instead of by a jury. Prisoner pleaded not guilty.

Mr GARFORTH addressed the Bench on behalf of the prisoner. He said that an attempt which was entirely unsuccessful might have been misjudged by the witnesses. The prisoner and another man were in Hyde with the intention of going to the Theatre. They did not go, however, and they were trying to get on a car to go back to Ashton when he was arrested.

There was nothing in the character of the prisoner or his antecedents to suggest that he was a professional thief. His father was a respectable tradesman – a master clogger. Prisoner worked for his father at good wages. He had a wife and one child. He asked that prisoner be dealt with leniently. He was a young man with much of his life before him. He asked that he should be dealt with leniently for the sake of his family.

After a brief consultation the Bench inflicted a fine of £2 and costs. – The Mayor complimented the witnesses for the way in which they had given their evidence. – The Chief Constable said they were very much obliged to the witnesses for what they had done. They had great difficulty in detecting these pickpockets, and he asked for a special allowance should be given to both witnesses. This the Bench agreed to do, and the fine, along with costs, amounted to £3 1s 4d.

Annual Meeting

There was a large attendance at the annual meeting of the Manchester City Football Club Company Limited, which was held on Thursday night. In the absence through indisposition of Mr Edward HULTON, jun., (chairman of directors), Alderman WATERHOUSE, of Ashton, presided. In moving the adoption of the report and balance sheet, he said it was a satisfactory one in every respect. It converted a serious debit balance into a credit balance of £233.

They had saved £1,000 in players’ wages (about £60,000 at today’s value – Ed), an £400 on hotel and travel expenses – a result which reflected great credit upon the management an upon the secretary (Mr MALEY), the latter of whom said they were determined to have the best possible team they could get. The retiring directors (including Mr C H WATERHOUSE) were unanimously reappointed.

At the Ashton County Court, on Thursday, Mr G RHODES (barrister, Manchester), made an application to the Judge for his approval of a composition proposed by Jos. PHILLIPS BEDSON, Newton House, Hyde, bankrupt, for payment of his debts to his creditors in full, with interest at 4 per cent per annum, and the annulment of his bankruptcy.

Debtor was the managing director of the Clayton Engineering Electrical Contracting Company Ltd, Hyde. The receiving order was made on August 6th, 1902, on the creditor’s petition. In the opinion of Mr C J DIBB, official receiver, the terms of the proposal were reasonable, and calculated to benefit the creditors, to whom it was proposed to pay a composition of 20s and interest as aforestated. If the estate were to be wound up in bankruptcy it would, in the official receiver’s opinion, probably yield less than the amount offered in the bankrupt’s proposal, viz 2s 6d in the pound only. Mr DIBB described it as an unusual claim.

The matter had been through the Board of Trade and the Board thought that under the special circumstances of the case that it might be brought before the Court. Apparently, the composition was being paid only a very small portion of the liability. – His Honour said it seemed to be a case of misfortune only simply. He saw no reason why he should not sanction the scheme in everybody’s interest.

MR WADDICON: - This gentleman, who is on a visit to America, went there simply for pleasure and to see relatives and friends. His health, we are glad to hear, is not at fault, as reported in our last week’s issue.

ENTERTAINING BAZAAR WORKERS. – To mark the success of the recent bazaar held in connection with the King-street Conservative Club, Hurst, the workers who gave their services so willingly were entertained to a tea party and social in the Co-operative Society’s room, Hillgate-street, on Saturday night. There were about 120 people present to tea, and after proceedings, which consisted of singing and dancing, were of a very pleasant character, there being present amongst others, the president of the club, Dr HILTON, Councillor SCHOFIELD, and Mr T DEAN.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. – On Wednesday, at the Ashton County Police Court, Joseph LEES was summoned for being drunk and disorderly in Hillgate-street on Sunday, the 5th inst. – Defendant did not appear, but sent a representative who pleaded guilty. – In reply to the Bench, Superintendent HEWITT said the defendant had been up four times, but not since 1892. Mr Able BUCKLEY, the presiding magistrate, told the representative that they would have to make an example of the defendant, and fined him 10s and costs.

DEATH OF AN OLD RESIDENT OF HURST. – The funeral took place on Friday afternoon of last week, at the Cemetery, Dukinfield, of William SEYMOUR, retired farmer and cattle dealer, formerly of Hazlehurst Farm, and of the Junction Farm up to the time of his retirement some twenty years ago.

He died on April 14th at the house of his daughter, Mrs BARDEN, of the Junction, Mossley-road. Deceased was 87 years of age. He formerly did a big business in the buying and selling of cattle, and was well known and highly respected by all cattle dealers attending the Ashton cattle fairs. He was the brother of the late Benjamin SEYMOUR, registrar of births and deaths for Ashton.

Sir, - The treatment meted out to Mr Alderman SHAW’s motion at the last Council meeting had an ugly look about it. Can it be that that the health of the town may be treated as a mere pawn to be sacrificed in a game? However, that may be Nemesis has soon overtaken the chairman of the Highways Committee (Mr Alderman SIDDALL), who with a sapience that is inimitable said, “Tell us where there is a sewer that is choked, and we will look at it.”

Well, a congested sewer has been found for him by his own department – Hill-street and Higher Wharf-street, between Mill-lane and Cavendish-street. I need not say that the discovery was unintentional. I think there ought to be a pilgrimage for inspection by all sensible ratepayers, for a more disgraceful state of things I have not come across for some time. – Yours &c,

The Servant in Hysteria and Early Morning Supper
A Visitor from Oldham

At the Ashton Borough Police Court, on Monday, Mary Jane ROYLE, licensee of the Cambridge Inn, was summoned (1) for keeping her licensed premises for the sale of intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours on the 10th April, and (2) opening her premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on the same date. – Mr J B POWNALL appeared for the defence, and pleaded not guilty.

Inspector TULSON was sworn, and stated that at 1.30 on the morning of the 10th inst, he was on duty in Cambridge-street along with Constable HESKETH. When he got to the Cambridge Inn he saw a light in a room at the front of the house, and the bar was lighted on. On passing the window he heard someone talking, and he told HESKETH to knock at the front door. He did so and five minutes elapsed before the door was opened.

He and HESKETH then entered, and when they got into the room found two men and two women, one being the defendant. One man gave his name and address as James BROCKLEHURST, 20 Neal-street, Oldham, the other Samuel WILLIAMSON, 4 Bennett-street, Ashton, and Grace BELL, 150 Oxford-street, Ashton. He asked the landlady what account she chose to give of these persons being there. She said BROCKLEHURST was a friend, and was staying there, WILLIAMSON was her waiter on, and Miss BELL was a friend.

On the table there were three glasses, two containing spirits and one empty. He told the landlady he should report her, and she said, “All right.” At the time the defendant was under the influence of drink. – Mr POWNALL: As to that, was it not excitement and not drink? I don’t think so. – Didn’t she tell you the servant had been taken ill, and they had been bothering with her? No, it was never mentioned.

I take it that, like most ladies, when the police came in, she was excited? No, she had drink. – There was no concealment about this! No. – Did you notice any indications of supper? There was a pie, but no knives and forks. It did not look like a supper table. Did you know that Miss BELL is a friend of Mrs ROYLE’s? No. – The Chairman: Was anything said that night about the servant being ill? No. Constable HESKETH gave corroborative evidence.

Mr POWNALL said that no offence had been intended or committed. Miss BELL lived adjoining the Cambridge Inn, and was an intimate friend of Mrs ROYLE ever since she became tenant on the death of Mr MOORS. Anyone who knew Miss BELL would say she was there for the purpose of committing an offence against the Licensing Act. Being a close friend, she had often been in the house after 11 o’clock.

WILLIAMSON was undoubtedly one of the barmen. Mr BROCKLEHURST, who was an old friend of the landlady’s, turned up between nine and ten o’clock. He was asked to stay and have some supper when business was over. Whilst he was there the servant went into hysterics, and through that fact that supper was postponed at the time.

On the following day, Dr CHEETHAM saw the girl, and he would tell them that she was genuinely ill. Of course, it was very awkward, that the police should have come on the scene when the presence of so many people had to be accounted for, but he asked the Bench to believe this was a genuine story and a reasonable excuse.- Mrs ROYLE gave evidence bearing out Mr POWNALL’s statement.

The Chief Constable: What time was the servant girl taken ill? Between ten and eleven o’clock – What did you do with her? We could not get her to bed. – What did you do with her? – We could not put her to bed. – What time did you get her to bed? It was about one o’clock. – Have you ever told anyone she was suffering from drink? – No. – You are on oath; did you say anything to Inspector TULSON about the girl’s illness? – No. – Why not! I was confused.

Were you sober yourself? Certainly. – This Mr BROCKLEHURST, how long have you known him? Eight years, - What was his business that night? He came as a friend. – Did he often stay at night? – No. – Did he stay that night? Yes, because we were very upset. - The police came after? One o’clock, did it take all that time to get the servant girl rectified? – Yes. – How do you account for Miss BELL being there so late? I asked her to stay until things were settled, - Had she anything to drink? No. Samuel WILLIAMSON, the barman, said that the girl was taken ill.

James BROCKLEHURST, 20 Neal-street, Oldham, also gave evidence. He said he had known Mrs ROYLE for some time, and often visited her. – The Chief Constable: How long have you been visiting this house? Many years. – What for? As a friend. – Any business in particular? No. – Of course, you know Mrs ROYLE is a married woman? Yes. – Is her husband living at the Cambridge? No. – Oh, how often have you stayed there? I have stayed at week-ends many times.

Were there any other women in the house? Yes. – The servant? Yes. – You are not a married man? No. – What is your business? Rope and twine maker. – Do you tell the bench you visit there every week-end? Well, yes. I visit there every week. – And stay all night? Yes, from Saturday to Sunday night. – Do you take part in the business? Yes, if they are busy. – It is very good on your part. Is not the illness of the servant a second thought? I don’t think it was in fact. – But none of you mentioned that to the police.

Where is the lady’s husband? I don’t know much about him. – You know they are not living together? Yes. – When you go there, do you always have your drink free? – Yes. – Dr CHEETHAM was called, and proved being called to the servant girl on the afternoon following. At that time there was no evidence of drink about her. The Bench imposed a fine of 10s and costs.

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