Homeless in Conisborough

October 1882

Mexborough and Swinton Times, October 13

Homeless in Conisborough

John Crowcroft, an aged man, a labourer, of Conisborough, but without a home, stood up in the dock, ragged and half bald and trembling, charged with having taken Swede turnips from a growing crop at Conisborough, belonging to William Adwick, greengrocer of Hexthorpe.

Police men Guylee had found him at six o’clock on the morning before in the field, next the Ellershaw Lane, lying asleep by the side of a fire he had kindled. Presently he arose, pulled five or six turnips, twisted their greens, and put them in a box by the fireside, and, just after, he went to another spot, and pulled up an armful of turnips and made off across another field.

The policeman walked round to meet him, and then he dropped the turnips into a dike, and, when charged with the theft, he averred that he was only going to transplant them. He had left by the fire the box, in part filled with feathers, and an old kettle and saucepan.

He has no home, and had slept in a shed in the field for a fortnight, the top of which shed he had burnt off. He now denied that he pulled up the turnips, and call the policeman a liar.

Adwick told that he had taken of the crop from Watkinson, of Conisborough, and that many of the turnips had been stolen, and that he had warned the old man not to go into the field.

He promised to tell the magistrates the story – truth and related that he was a gardener, and that, seeingthe turnips been planted late, Watkinson had agreed to give him half a crown to transplant to fill up bare spots and that he was thus engaged when the policeman found him.

But he is known as a thief, and had been convicted 10 times of drunkenness, theft, and so forth; and the Chairman told that his story wouldn’t hold water and that evidently he was a vagabond and he was sent to prison for a months hard Labour.