Boy Burgulars – Amazing Denaby Exploits

August 1919

Mexborough Times, August 9, 1919

Boy Burglars
Amazing Denaby Exploits

An amazing story of three Denaby boys depredations was a told at the Doncaster West riding juvenile court, on Wednesday, before Mr G.B. Shiffner, presiding, when charges of shop breaking were preferred against one boy of 13, another of 11, and a third 10 years.

The first charge related to break into the shop of Percy Wortley Watson, grocer, and stealing money, biscuits and chocolates etc

Mr Watsonleft the premises all right on July 28. The next morning he found an entrance had been effected by a back window which had been removed. He missed 13 shillings or 14 shillings from the till, a pound of biscuits and some chocolates.

PC Raper said at 4.30 on the morning of the 29 th ult. he saw the smallest boy in Doncaster Road in the custody of a nightwatchman. He questioned him, and not being satisfied he took him back to New Conisbrough where he examined the shops. He found the Don Valley stores have been broken open and the boy then admitted that some of the lads have been in. He had 7s. 3d. (15p) in his possession.

Witness afterwards apprehended the other defendants, and money was found on them.

On one was found a key which they admitted having stolen from Mr H.L. Smethurst´s garage. When charged they admitted it.

The young boy then made a statement that they were concerned in three more robberies; at the Denaby Rifle club room, the Cadeby Brickyard shed, and Mr Downing´s shop in Low Road, Conisboro´.

Dealing with the rifle club room, Fred Banham, secretary, 14 Clifton Street, said he missed the rifle, 700 rounds of ball ammunition, two cleaning rods and five lenses from telescopes. All the locks of the cupboards had been broken off. PC Raper said he found the rifle and the cartridges buried in the hedge bottom. The defendants admitted it.

The eldest boy was then charged with stealing a quantity of tools from the Cadeby Brickyard. When Raper saw him he admitted it, but now denied that he committed the offence, saying he was frightened. The case was dismissed.

The boy’s father, who said he had served 4 1/2 years in France, wanted the boy to be sent to a training ship. He did not want him to get into any further trouble, and he might do if he stayed there. The father of another defendant said they could not keep the lads separate at school. He had been away in France for a half years, and the separation allowance was only a mere existence for the woman, and she had had to go out and work to keep the house going. The father of the little boy said he had not been in the Army. The boy had been under the probation officer, and had not given any trouble, but had got out of hand somehow. He could not be watching him all along his wife was ailing.

The headmaster at the school gave him a good word.

The eldest defendant, it was stated, had been before the court, five times, and had been birched twice; the other two had also been birched.

Inspector Holmes said in addition there were three other charges against them, viz., stealing a key from Mr Smethurst´s garage, stealing two keys belonging to Mr Ralph Williamson, and with breaking and entering the lock-up shop of Ernest Downing, in low road, Conisbrough, and stealing four jack knives valued at 30 shillings.

The probation officers said the boys all had good homes, and there was no reason why they should go wrong.

The chairman said it was a shocking case, and they could not understand it in the present days of education. The elder boy would have to go to a reformatory for five years, and the other two would receive six strokes with the Birch rod, and the parents would have to pay 40 shillings

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