1917 Police Court: Burglar bungles his big job at jeweller’s

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Thomas Watson, described as a labourer, 29 years of age, 9, Graham Row, Drypool, Hull, appeared on the charge of having broken into the shop of Mr George Sedman, jeweller, Newborough, and having stolen a quantity of jewellery of the value of £524 19s 6d.

Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, was for the prosecution, and Mr GE Royle, solicitor, defended.

Outlining the case, Mr Whitfield said that on September 10th Mr Sedman locked up his jewellery premises, No.1 Newborough, at about 8.15pm leaving them secure. There were two entrances to the shop. One was through the door of No.2 Bar Street, up some stairs, and through a room in the occupation of Mr Copley, and then downstairs to the back of the shop which Mr Sedman occupied.

About three o’clock on Tuesday morning Sergeant Nalton was on duty in Newborough when he heard some sort of creaking noise, saw a light, and satisfied himself that there was someone in the shop. He obtained the assistance of PC Blackburn and the officers saw, through a crack of the shutters, a man open the glass door at the left hand side of the shop, and heard articles being removed from the glass shelves in the window. PC Found was posted at Bar Street, and PC Ward was sent to get Mr Sedman.

On Mr Sedman’s arrival shortly after, PCs Ward and Found, along with Mr Sedman entered the premises through a door of No.4 Bar Street. The light was switched on, and the front door of the shop was then seen to close. It was clear then that the man who had been in the shop was at that time at the outer side of the front door, and at the inner side of the shutters which were at the outside of the front door. PC Ward attempted to pull the door inwards, but his efforts did not succeed, until suddenly the door was released and pushed at him. At the same moment the prisoner pushed out round the counter, and upstairs.

Upstairs was in darkness, and prisoner had the opportunity of escaping through the skylight at the top of the house. Eventually, he was seen on the roof of the premises in Bar Street, and later on the roofs of various premises in Newborough. In order to summon extra assistance to prevent the probability of prisoner getting away the members of the fire brigade were summoned, and eventually the prisoner was found by Detective Inspector Nawton in a lift at Bailey’s Cafe. Certain articles of the jewellery mentioned in the charge were found on him, some were found in the lift, and the remaining portion of jewellery was found in a bag which had been left in the shop. In this bag there were various articles of clothing, a jemmy, a long chisel, a short chisel, a screwdriver, and in the pockets of the clothing some of the jewellery had been put. The prisoner was taken to the police station, and subsequently a woollen scarf, which was found just inside a broken window at the top of premises near the Penny Bazaar, was shown to him. Evidently the prisoner had broken the glass, and the scarf had been lost because he admitted, on the scarf being shown to him, that it was his “to expiate the wrong.”

Mr Royle for prisoner said as he told the magistrates, the prisoner desired to plead guilty and to expiate the wrong. It was most unfortunate that their worships had not the power to deal with the case. He asked the bench to send prisoner to the Sessions, which would be held next month rather than to the Assizes.

Mr Sedman supported the opening statements as far as finding prisoner was concerned, and in reply to Mr Royle, said the value placed upon the jewellery was the selling price.

On being formally charged by the clerk with the offence, prisoner said: “I plead guilty.”

The magistrates committed prisoner for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, and allowed Mr Whitfield a solicitor’s fee of two guineas.