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1918 Police court: Summons against dairy company is dismissed

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At the Borough Police Court before Mr J Dippie (in the chair), Alderman J Pirie, and Mr RG Heys, the Woodlands Dairy Ltd, Roscoe Street, was summoned for selling three-pennyworth of new milk which was not of the nature, substance and quality demanded by Mr James Bastiman, Inspector under the Food and Drugs Act. Mr EM Taylor, Deputy Town Clerk, prosecuted, and Mr Tasker Hart, defended.

Mr Taylor said Mr Bastiman, in the course of his duty called at 47, Aberdeen Walk, and was supplied by Miss H Smith, an employee of the firm, with three-pennyworth of new milk. Mr Bastiman divided the milk into three portions as required by section 14 of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1885, and sent one portion to the analyst. Since the summons was served, defendant had given notice of a warranty.

That, of course, must be proved in court that morning, and in addition to that defendant must prove that from the time when the warranty ceased, presumably from the time it left the Scarborough railway station – possibly from Hawsker – the milk was in any way tampered with until it was sold.

Mr Bastiman proved the purchase of the milk and produced the analyst’s certificate, showing that the milk contained fifteen per cent of added water.

For the defence, Mr WM. Richardson, manager of the company, produced a warranty with Mr Richardson Noble farmer, of Hawsker, from whom the milk was purchased. The milk arrived at 9.38am, and witness was at the station to receive it. It was exactly of the same nature, substance and quality when it arrived at the Aberdeen Walk branch as he received it at the railway station.

Miss Beatrice Smith said the milk was taken from a churn and put into a bowl. She gave Mr Bastiman the milk in the same state as it arrived at the shop. She had been in the shop eight years.

Mr Richardson Noble said the milk was sent direct from the cow.

Mr Richardson recalled by the magistrates, said he had tested the milk on April 13th – it took time, and he was understaffed.

The case was dismissed.

Joshua Batty, milk vendor, 18, Cambridge Street, was summoned for a similar offence. He pleaded not guilty.

Mr Taylor said it was a similar case in many respects to the previous one except that defendant did not plead a warranty. The inspector was supplied with a pint of new milk in Oxford Street and the certificate from the analyst showed that it contained 13.5 per cent of added water.

Defendant said he bought five gallons of milk from Sellers of Scalby, on the day in question. He had no warranty, but he sold the milk as it was sold to him.

Florence Gertrude Boyes said she was at Sellers’ farm. The milk was delivered to defendant direct from the cow.

The Magistrates’ Clerk explained to defendant that in order to succeed he must produce evidence proving the milk had not been tampered with. It would be necessary to trace the milk step by step from Scalby to Scarborough. If defendant liked the case could be adjourned.

Defendant asked the magistrates to deal with the case that morning. He reiterated that he sold the milk in exactly the same 
state as he received it. Farmers, he added, would not give a warranty to small milk sellers. He had been in the business about 30 years and had never been summoned before.

The magistrates found the case proved, but in consideration of the long, clear record of defendant the magistrates made the penalty as light as possible. They fined him £1 1s.