The 1880 Bocking Burglaries

Chelmsford Chronicle




About eight o'clock on Sunday morning information was given to Supt. Ackers, at the Bocking police-station, that the houses of Mrs. Sarah J. Brown and Mr. A. E. Brown, grocer, both of them situate in Bradford-street, Bocking, had been entered and robbed during the night. Inspector H.G.Ackers was at once dispatched, and found that both houses had been entered from the back. It appeared as though the thieves must have been disturbed while at Mrs. Brown's, as a mackintosh, with some spoons in the pocket, ready for taking away, was left behind.

From Mr. A. E. Brown's a variety of goods were stolen, including good great coat, some plated articles, cigars, brandy, and other things. Inspector Ackers lost no time in setting the telegraph to work in varlous directions, and in the course of the day two men answering the description given were captured, one on the station platform at Witham and the other at Boreham, the whole of the missing property being found upon them. The prisoners were at once conveyed to Braintree in a fly. They were taken before a magistrate on Monday, and remanded until Wednesday's Petty Session.

Our witham correspondent writes : -Information was received here by the police early on Sunday morning that a burglary had been committed at Bocking on the previous night, when the houses of Mr. Arthur Brown and Mrs. Sarah Brown were broken into and a number of silver forks and spoons and various articles of wearing apparel were stolen. P.c. Wedlock visited Witham railway station thinking the parties might wish to travel by the first train to London and he was right in the conjecture. On the platform were two men dressed in shabby suits of black, carrying a large parcel. on interrogating them and not receiving satisfactory replies he told them he should detain the parcel. He also collared one of the men, the other taking to his heels. On examining the bundle be found the articles in it answered the description given in the telegram. He took the man to the police station. He then took off his uniform and and Sergt. Matthews, with a horse and trap, started on the London-road in pursuit of the other, the prisoner's mate giving them a hint to be careful, as he had a revolver with him.

After a four mile ride they espied the man going at a brisk rate near Boreham Cock Inn. Driving a little ahead and suddenly turning the horse both officers jumped out and before the supposed burglar had time to gather up his thoughts for resistance they captured him and conveyed him back to Witham police-station. On searching him a quantity of tools well known to the housebreaking profession were found on him.

Both prisoners were subsequently conveyed to Braintree, where the property found on them was identified. On Wednesday the two men were brought up in custody securely guarded. Their appearance caused considerable excitement, a large crowd of persons following them from the police-station to the court and waiting some hours to witness their removal to the railway station en route for Chelmsford Gaol. They were, however, removed in an omnibus. The circumstances of the two burglaries as detailed in evidence were substantially the same as stated above.

The two men were described as Seymour alias Beal, of 15 Frembly Street, Mile-end-road, London, scaffold builder, and Joseph Craig, St. John-street, Dublin, sailor.

Seymour is probably not more than 25 years of age, Craig may be ten or fifteen years older. Both prisoners pleaded guilty and were committed to take their trial at the Assize. Deputy chief-constable Bridges was present during the examination of the prisoners.