Chasing Burglars around Witham

Essex Chronicle - Friday July 27 1834


Friday, July 27, 1934



On Monday at Witham, before W. W. Burrows, Esq., and Col. M. P. Hancock, D.S.O., Harry Sidney Such, 23, dealer, Drayton Road, Tottenham; Alfonse Hartley, 27, waiter, Liverpool Road, Islington; and Stanley Hacker, 25, steel erector, Drayton Road, Tottenham, were charged with breaking into the shop of Percy Cresswell at Hatfield Peverel on July 11 or 12, and stealing 10/-, cigarettes, 11 ounces of tobacco, and two tablets of soap, value £2/8/-. Mr. Tinsley appeared for the prisoners, who were further charged with breaking and entering the warehouse of Messrs. A. C. Ward and Sons, wholesale grocers, Feering, on July 12, with intent to steal therein.

Mr. Cresswell, chemist, deposed his shop being broken open, and Mr. Ward to his warehouse. Mr. Ward added that he owned a revolver, which he kept in a roll-top desk in the office. When he entered the office with the police he found the revolver on the desk. The revolver was loaded in all six chambers. He always kept the revolver with the catch at safety, but when he found it the desk it was not on safety. Papers and stamps in his desk had been disarranged, and the office was disorder. So far as he was aware nothing whatever had been stolen from the premises.

P.c. Goose deposed that at 4.15 a.m. on July 12 he was cycling in London Road, Feering, and saw a large saloon car, TU7437, standing unattended on the forecourt of Messrs. Ward's warehouse, the engine not running. The car was turned towards London. He dismounted from his cycle on the forecourt, when he saw the prisoner Hacker emerge from the warehouse and make towards the car. As witness made towards him he saw Hartley emerge from the office door, followed by Such. On seeing witness the three men ran towards the car. Such tried to get in the driver's seat. Witness continued; "Realising that he was the driver of the car I closed with him, and a struggle ensued, in which both the other prisoners took part. I entered the car, and attempted to disable it by breaking the contact wires, but was unable to do so before I was pulled away by the three prisoners. Part of the struggle took place in the car and part in the road. Owing to the struggle I was compelled to leave go of Such, and all three men made off in the direction of Colchester. dare not follow at the time, as "the car was not disabled. Shortly afterwards other police officers arrived. I then became chauffeur and took possession of the car, and searched the neighbourhood. I was unable to find any trace of the prisoners."

Witness added that he returned to the office, and found the door had been forced by an instrument. On a desk he found the jemmy produced. On the desk also he found the revolver and discovered that the safety catch was off. At 3 p.m. he was cycling on by-road at Kelvedon and saw the three prisoners on a track leading to Felix Hall. He was in uniform and approached them. He asked them who they were, and where they were going. Such answered, "George Newman, Dalston. Hartley gave his correct surname and address, and Hacker gave the name of Jack Lewis, Liverpool Road.

He told them they would have to accompany him to the nearest telephone to verify their names and addresses. They commenced to go with him; then all three ran away. He followed and caught Hartley in a wheat field close by. When told he would be arrested for breaking into a warehouse, Hartley replied, " don't know anything about it." He was taken to Kelvedon Police Station where he was handed over to Det.-Supt. Totterdell. P.c. Goose said the prisoners were the men he encountered at the warehouse early in the morning.

Mr. Tinsley: You did not see either of the three men touch the revolver?— No. I found no offensive weapon on the accused. When they struggled outside the warehouse it was merely to get away. There was no vicious attack or violence towards me, although I sustained few bruises.

P.c. Johnson said that at 3.30 p.m. he was in plain clothes in Silver End Road, Kelvedon, when he saw the prisoner Such crossing Felix Hall Estate towards the road. Witness hid and stopped him as he came over a gate to the road.

P.c. Merchant deposed that in a field of wheat between Kelvedon and Coggeshall he saw Hacker lying full-length the corn, which he had pulled over him, about 80 yards from the highway. Witness arrested him. Such and Hartley said, Yes, that's right."

Insp. Chaplin described how on searching the car he found the jemmy produced.

Prisoners were committed for trial at the London Session. Mr. Tinsley applied for bail.

Supt. Sach said he must ask for substantial bail, each prisoner in £200, and two other sureties in £200 each, or four sureties in £100 each.

The Chairman said the Bench agreed to bail in the amounts stated.

The Chairman added : The Bench wish to compliment P.c. Goose on the prompt action he took in dealing with this matter, and desire that this commendation be conveyed to the proper quarter.

Supt. Sach thanked the Bench, and undertook to convey the commendation.