Thefts from Chester-le-Street - July 1911
From the 1911 pages of the Chester-le-Street Chronicles.
William Dawson, John Ranson, Thomas Ridley and William Fowler, youths, were charged with having stolen a blacking brush and a candle, the property of George Bell, Chester-le-Street and with having stolen a hammer and chisel, the property of John Grieveson on July 26th.
P. Bell, a van man, residing at 18, Relton Terrace, Chester-le-Street, stated that he locked up his stable in Ropery Lane, leaving everything secure, and on proceeding there the following morning he found the door open, the stable holding the the lock having been drawn. He missed a blacking brush and a carriage candle, which he valued at one shilling.
Sergt. Atkinson spoke to charging defendants. Ranson replied, “I helped to break off the lock with the hammer. I only got a candle.” Ridley said, “I helped him to break the door open.” Fowler said, “They broke it open.” Dawson answered, “I wasn’t in the stable. I was watching for the Police coming.”
George Grieveson, a Rope Maker in the employ of his father, stated that he saw the hammer and chisel produced, lying on a bench in the yard at the Ropery and later he noticed the defendants standing in the Ropery Lane.
Sergt. Atkinson spoke to seeing Fowler and Dawson standing near the bottom of Lambton Terrace. On seeing him they ran away, but returned shortly afterwards. On catching Fowler he searched him and found the hammer and chisel produced, in his pocket. On asking him where he got the instruments he answered, “I found them down by the banks.” From something he was told he afterwards arrested Ranson, Ridley and Dawson and took them to the Police Station. Grieveson and Ranson said, “Well, we stole them.” And Dawson replied, “I got nowt, I was watching for the Police.”
Mr. Turnbull, who appeared for Ranson, said these lads were just idling about in the evening and there was no intent to make any profit out of what had occurred. He did not think they intended to deprive Grieveson of his ownership. It was a foolish thing for them to have done, but it would be a pity to record a conviction against them, which would be a slur on their whole future life.
The Chairman said the Bench believed the things were taken out of mischief, but they thought they should have something better to do. Ridley, Fowler and Dawson had been convicted before, and it was a question with them whether they should convict them again. They had decided to bind them over in the sum of £5 for six months, and they were ordered to pay the costs.