Elects To Go For Trial – Conanby Man’s Alleged Theft

June 1956

South Yorkshire Times, June 16th, 1956

Elects To Go For Trial
Conanby Man’s Alleged Theft

While employed as cashier at Mexborough site a 40 year old Conanby clerk incurred a general deficiency of £471 6s it was alleged at Doncaster West Riding Court on Friday.

Before the court was William George Grout, of Gomersall Avenue, Conanby, who elected to go for trial accused if stealing as servant a total £486 16s. 11d., obtaining bankers’ cheques for £566 11s. 3d. and £797 2s. 8d. By false pretences, falsifying accounts and fraudulently converting £8 6s. To his own use. He was committed for trial to the next West Riding Quarter Sessions.

Mr. J. E. Wilson, prosecuting, alleged the offences occurred when Grout was employed as cashier by Robert M. Douglas Ltd., contractors, of Birmingham, at their site at Mexborough Power station. He said part of Grout’s duty was to pay the wages to the men on the site and generally he telephoned head office in Birmingham telling then how much he needed and justified this amount by sending in wage sheets and cash summaries.

Unfortunately, said Mr. Wilson, during holiday periods, and these offences took place during the Christmas period, it was not always possible to send in these accounts. On two occasions Grout asked for amounts considerably larger than he required and failed to send in the wages sheets, making various excuses for their not having reached head office.

On January 13th this year, said Mr. Wilson, Grout was transferred to the company;s site at Wilton and Mr. Thomas Hutton, the labour manager, began a full-scale inquiry into the record at the Mexborough site and discovered a total deficiency of £471 0s. 9d.

Grout was asked about the deficiency, denied all knowledge and said that it must be due to a mistake at head office. Later interviewed by the police, he said, ‘I can’t help you.’ Mr. Wilson said he was seen again by the police and alleged that he told them, ‘I was £140 down on insurance stamps and made it up by claiming more than I should have done.’ That, said Mr. Wilson, referred to the first bankers’ cheque for £566 11s. 3d. for December 25th.

When he was asked about the second cheque for £797 2s. 8d. He was alleged to have told the police, ‘I claimed too much that week, too. I had a general deficiency and I wanted to make it up.’

Mr. Wilson said Grout was asked by the area general manager to produce all the insurance cards and said he would have to go home for them. A van was placed at his disposal and on the way placed at his disposal and on the way home he told the driver to stop at a Post Office, where he bought a large quantity of insurance stamps and he spent such a long time at home that it was obvious he was stamping the cards, alleged Mr. Wilson.

He also alleged that Grout kept a wage packet containing £8 6s. which he should have sent to a Mr. Patrick Flanaghan, who had gone to Ireland on holiday.

The empty wage packet, the missing wages sheet and cash summaries were found in a brief case belonging to Grout, which was discovered in a safe at Wilton, alleged Mr. Wilson.

Grout made a statement to the police, said Mr. Wilson, in which he said that ‘During a period of approximately seven months. I accrued a deficiency of about £450, mainly through not stamping insurance cards.’

In the statement Grout said he was prepared to and was making good the deficiency but was transferred to the other site before he could.

The area general manager, Mr. Thomas Malcolm, said that Grout started work at Mexborough power station in March, 1955, taking over from a cashier named Jackson. He said there was no evidence at that time that the books were behind or that any insurance cards were missing.

Mr. Henry Ralph Friend, of Cowper Road, Mexborough, an agent for the firm, said that he queried the cheque for £797 2s. 8d. when he went to the bank with Grout to draw the money, saying it was larger than usual, but Grout gave him some reason for this which he now could not remember.