Denaby Rowdies – “Big Entry Gang”- Magistrates Warnings to Hooligans

May 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 27, 1927

Denaby Rowdies
“Big Entry Gang”
Magistrates Warnings to Hooligans.

Sentences of two months imprisonment were passed by the Doncaster magistrates on Tuesday on two members of the “Big Entry Gang.”

They were William Setters, bricklayer, of Conisborough and Ernest Coope, miner of Conisborough, and each had three summonses against him, firstly, that on May 6 they, along with John Coope, also a Conisborough miner, were drunk and disorderly; secondly that on May 7 they use violent and abusive language; and thirdly, that on the same day they assaulted Michael Rooney, miner, 35, Blyth Street, Denaby Main.

John Coope did not appear, but wrote pleading “guilty.”

Disturbed a Dance

In the first case PC Thompson said the three men went to a tennis dance which was being held at the Large Hall, Denaby Main.

They were all drunk and the the secretary asked the witness to put them outside. The defendants started to dance, but the witness eventually got them out. As they were leaving the hall, one of them struck a Mexborough man, and they began struggling. Witness once more went to them and turned them off the premises, pushing them into Rossington Street, but they continued to fight and use bad language.

On the summonses against setters and Ernest Coope for having use violent and abusive language, PC Schofield said when he was opposite the Denaby Main Hotel in Doncaster Road on the day following the occurrences related by the last witness, he saw Setters go to a man named Rooney and strike a blow in the face, at the same time making use of a very abusive term.

Witness went towards them, and they move further along the footpath, where Setters knocked Rooney to the ground and swore at him. They both went to the ground, and when witness got to them Ernest Coope was in the act of kicking Rooney. Coope looked on, however, and called to Setters, “Give him hell, Bill; he’s no good.”

The witness parted them, and Coope then struck Rooney and run away. When the witness saw him later in the street he refused to give his address, when told he would be reported he said, “You can lock me up.”

In answer to superintendent Minty, the witness said they had a gang in the Denaby district known as the “Big Entry Gang,” and these defendants were prominent members. The gang terrorised the district and gave the police some trouble 18 months ago.

In the summonses against the same defendants for assault, the complainant, Michael Rooney, said at 9:40 pm he went into Denaby main hotel with his wife. Setters was there and said to him, “Will you treat me?” The complainant replied “I’ve only this” (showing off half a crown*). Setters then said, “Well, I am going to have the change,” and he asked the barman for the change from the half a crown which complainant had tender for a drink for himself and his wife. The barman gave it to the complainant.

When they turned out at 10 o’clock the complainant was told not to go out the back way, as there was a gang waiting for him. He therefore went out by the front door. The two defendants were waiting behind the wall for him, and a son he got out they both attacked him. Complainant “spied up” to Setters, but could not do anything because Coope was behind him. Setters and he struggled and went down. The police officer came up then separated them, while the officer L the complainant Coope came up behind and struck him.

Both men belong to the “Big Entry Gang,” and both knocked him down.

PC Schofield repeated his evidence, and added that as far as he could see the assault was totally unprovoked. He had to take Rooney home right to his door. If the assault had taken place at the back of the hotel instead of the front Rooney would have been very badly mauled.

“Such a clout”

Margaret Rooney, wife of the complainant said she gave her husband 2s 6d for two drinks. She saw setters argue with the barman for the change. When she went out, after she saw setters, and heard Coope mutter something to him as to what they should do at her husband. Setters rushed at her husband, and she got hold of Coope, saying “Give him a chance don’t both go on at once.” “Coope got away from me,” added the witness, “and gave my husband such a clout.”

In answer to Coope, witness said she struck him in the face when he was going to kick her husband.

Coope, denied that he was going to kick the complainant, asked the witness, “don’t you think it would be rather aggravating to a man to be struck in the face by a woman for nothing?

Witness: Well you were going to make more bother.

Setters, on oath, said he asked Rooney if he was going to treat him, and he replied, “I am – – – – not,” and wanted to fight. Rooney went out of the hotel first, and when the defendant went out Rooney struck him, and had him on the ground. The next thing he remembered was that his mother and sister were taking him home. He stayed in the house about 20 minutes, and then went to Mexborough a different way. He was sober, and did not strike Rooney in the mouth as he was leaving the hotel, neither did he demand the change from the barman.

Coope said he and setters have been for a walk round the Crags and through the new village, arriving back at the “Big Drum” at 9:10 PM. He spoke to several persons there, and never saw any trouble between setters and Rooney. At closing time he followed setters out and found there was a disturbance. As he walked towards the scene a woman whom he now knew to be Mrs Rooney struck in the face, and said, “You are not going to attack my husband.” He told her he had no intention of attacking her husband, but she persisted in the belief that he was, and struck again.

Just then the policeman arrived and told Rooney to go away, and the man went away on his own. He went up to Rooney, and said, “Have I attempted to strike you, Mick?” Rooney answered, “Don’t Mick this me,” and struck at him. He (Coope) struck at the same time, but while Rooney missed, he hit. The policeman came up again, and he (Coope) ran away.

On the following Sunday he went to the “Drum”, and Rooney attacked him savagely in front of hundreds of people.

The Chairman, passing sentence, said to Coope and setters, “You two young men are nothing but two young hooligans. You seem to belong to this gang, and we are going to stop this sort of thing. If any more of your gang come here they will be sent to prison.”

John Coope was fined five shillings for having been drunk and disorderly or 14 days in default.

Ernest Coope was fined 20 shillings or 14 days for having been drunk and disorderly; 20 shillings or 14 days for having use violent and abusive language, and sentenced to 2 months imprisonment for having assaulted Rooney.

William Setters was fined nine shillings or seven days for having used violent and abusive language, and sentenced to 2 months imprisonment for having assaulted Rooney.