Daring Burglary at Hilltop – The Thief up A Chimney

May 1897

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 7 1897

Daring Burglary at Hilltop
The Thief up A Chimney

Last week a burglar made a daring attempt upon the house of Mr Frank Ogley, at Hilltop, near Conisborough, but fortunately, although he succeeded in entering the house, he was compelled to go away empty-handed, and indeed was lucky to escape with a whole skin, as the circumstances will show.

On Wednesday night the youth employed as a groom, who sleeps over a kitchen at the back of the house, heard a noise as of somebody trying to open the windows below. He got out of bed and shouted, and saw a man leave through the window, and make a fast run across the yard. He aroused the household, and a search was made both inside and out, but nothing was seen of the would-be thief, although in the morning his footprints around the house and across the yard were plainly discernible.

Two nights afterwards on Friday night, the boy again heard a noise; this time in the kitchen below. There is a trap door between the bedroom door and the kitchen ceiling, and the boy heard someone trying to open this. He ran to arouse the family, but Mr Frank Ogley advised him to go back to bed. He did so, but in a few minutes aroused the household again, and stated he was sure somebody was trying to get in. Mr Ogley then got up, and went downstairs with a gun, followed by other members of the family. He found the kitchen empty, and, stranger still, both the door and the window were securely fastened. They searched the covers on the pantry without success, and believed the lad had been dreaming. Mr Ogley and the family again went to bed. In the morning however, one of the servants found the kitchen window unfastened, and the quantity of soot scattered over the hearth, as well as one or two sooty footmarks, making it evident that the enterprising burglar had come down the chimney, before he took his parting. And Mr Ogley remembered that the last thing at night he had gone out to the stables to look at a vulnerable shire mare expected to foal, and had left the kitchen door unfastened while he was out.

The would-be thief has seized that opportunity to enter the house, and had probably concealed himself in the pantry until Mr Ogley came out and went to bed. But when he retired he bolted the door leading from the kitchen to the other part of the house. The burglar was then shut up in the kitchen, and it is evident tried the trapdoor in the expectation it would prove a means of communication to the remainder of the house. Then when he heard Mr Ogley approaching he had the presence of mind to know it would be useless to hide in the pantry and made for the large old-fashioned chimney, where he remained concealed while those below were fruitlessly hunting for him.

After they had gone he was probably satisfied with his adventure, and as soon as the coast was clear made the best of his way out of the house by the window.