” Moonlighting ” at Mexbro’.

September 1887

Sheffield Independent – Monday 05 September 1887

” Moonlighting ” at Mexbro’.

Yesterday, at Doncaster West Riding Police Court, the magistrates sat for some time investigating a case of ” removing goods to prevent a ‘distress’ at Mexbro’.”

Frank Flynn, quarryman, of Handsworth Woodhouse, and formerly of Mexbro’, was charged with removing the goods, and Patrick Dolan, collier, and Charles Bateman, carter, both of Mexbro’, were charged with having aided and abetted.

The complainant was Mr. John Hindson Watson, who is the chairman of the Mexbro’ Local Board, and on whose behalf Mr. J. W. Hattersley, solicitor, Mexbro’, appeared.

The defendant Flynn had been a tenant under Mr. Watson, the rent being 3s. per week. The bulk of the rent due accumulated during the strike at Denaby Main Colliery, at which the defendant was then employed, and which lasted for about thirty weeks. Flynn had been a tenant about five years, and the amount of rent owing was upwards of £6. On the 6th of August the landlord got information that Flynn had removed his furniture. From inquiries made it turned out that the man had gone to live at Handsworth Woodhouse, near Sheffield, and that the person who moved his goods was Bateman, whilst he was assisted in his departure by Dolan, a relative of Flynn’s.

A neighbour named Elizabeth Ann Dewsbury saw the proceedings taking place at the early hour of 4 o’clock on the morning in question, and her evidence was corroborated by Harriet Hinchliffe and John Wood, another witness named James Marsland, also speaking as to the departure of the dray load of furniture. The goods I removed were valued at about £6. 10s.  The witnesses acknowledged that this clandestine removal of furniture was of frequent occurrence in the neighbourhood.

Mr. Hattersley explained to the bench that if redress could not be granted to the landlord after such proceeding as these, he would be placed in the position of having to act with a considerable amount of harshness towards all tenants who got in arrears with their rent, however honest and well intentioned they might be, as an immediate distress would be his only remedy. These ” moonlight flits ” had become so common of late, and had been done so flagrantly, that it was time an example was made, which might have a deterrent influence on others attempting the same thing.

The Magistrates ordered Flynn to pay £3 and Dolan £2 to the landlord. Bateman, they considered, had been engaged in a ” fishy ” transaction, but did not think the evidence of sufficient weight to convict him. In default of distress to pay the amount, and Flynn and Dolan were each sentenced to one months’ imprisonment with hard labour.