Mexborough & Swinton Times, November 23
Controlled Prices Case
Denaby Manager Not Told of Change
Doncaster West Riding magistrates on Tuesday heard a batch of summonses issued by the Food Ministry against the Denaby Co-operative Society and one of their branch managers for alleged breach of the food regulations.
Against George Cheshire, manager of the Old Road branch, it was alleged that on October 1st he sold Cheshire cheese at more than the controlled price and again twice on October 3rd. The Society were summoned similarly that they offended through their agent.
There was also a summons against each for failing to display the essential price for the cheese.
The summonses against Cheshire relating to October 1st and for failing to display the price were dismissed, and the others were also dismissed under the Probation of Offenders Act.
The Society was fined 30s for the offences through their servant on October 3rd, and 10s. for failing to display a notice. The summons relating to October 1st was dismissed.
Mr. W. Winter (Barnsley) prosecuted. Mr. C. R. Marshall appeared for Cheshire, and Mr. Donald Dunn (Rotherham) for the Society.
Mr. Winter, explained that the controlled price of Cheshire cheese was 1s. 1d. a lb. On October 1st, Mrs Birch an assistant at the Conisboro´ Food Office, and also a customer of the Society, visited the Old Road branch managed by Cheshire, and left her order book. Subsequently the goods, which included half a 1b. of Cheshire cheese were delivered at her home. She then noticed she had been charged 7d. for the cheese, whereas the price should have been 6 ½ d. The order controlling Cheshire cheese came into operation on Oct. 1st. Two days later she again visited the shop and asked for half a lb. of Cheshire cheese and half a lb. of ham. She received a check for 1s. 8d.
She drew Mr. Cheshire´s attention to it and he replied that the cheese was 1s. 2d. a lb. and handed her back a halfpenny. Mrs. Birch reported the matter to the Food Office but before she did so at 2.15 p.m. she telephoned Mr. Cheshire and told him he was overcharging and in reply he thanked her and said he would tell on of the Society´s officials about it.
Later in the afternoon another assistant visited the shop and purchased some more cheese for which she was charged 9 ½ d. The defendant told her that the price was 1s. 3d. a lb. Later Inspector Wolfe visited the shop and the piece of cheese was weighed and found to be 10 1/8 ounces, for which the price should have been 8 ½ d. and not 9 ½ . He also said he had not received the new prices from the office. It was not his fault but the firm´s for not letting him know. He could not alter the prices without instructions.
Replying to Mr. E. W. Pettifer, the clerk, Mr. Winter said he should imagine the defendant would be informed through the Press or his trade journal regarding the controlled price.
A Big Job
Mr. Pettifer pointed out that Oct 1st. was the first day and it would be rather a big job to price the stock.
Mrs. Birch gave evidence bearing out Mr. Winter´s statement. She added that the cheese was not priced as laid down by the regulations.
Replying to Mr. Marshall, she said she knew in August that on October 1st the controlled price of Cheshire cheese was to be 1s. 1d. a lb. She did not make the purchase as a trap but she got rather indignant when no notice was taken. When she phoned Mr. Cheshire it was a friendly gesture. She did not think he intentionally overcharged, except it happened so often.
Evidence was also given by Florence Gethin, another assistant, and Mr. Alan Wolfe, a food inspector.
Mr. Marshall, for Cheshire, said Mr. Cheshire had the impression that the order was handed in on Monday which was September 30th, although it was dated October 1st. The prices Cheshire charged were on the instructions of his employers.
Mr. Dunn said the Society accepted full responsibility for any act of their managers. There might have been some negligence, but he did not think it was on the part of the manager. The Society had no knowledge until the end of September that the price of cheese was to be altered and a youth who went round the branches on a bicycle with the information did not call at that particular branch.