Injured Innocents at Denaby

November 1895

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 1, 1895

Injured Innocents at Denaby

David Willetts, William Fern, James Long Junior, Thomas Stonehouse, Thomas Clubb, William James King, John Smith, Albert Woodland, John Blower and Frank Charlesworth, all of New Denaby, were brought up on charges gaming with dice in a public place at Conisborough.

The game which the defendants were alleged to have been playing was “under and over” which necessitates the use of a tin, two dice, and an oblong piece of canvas about four inches long by 6 inches wide, and these articles were produced in court.

Police Constable Jarvis, who served the summonses, stated that at 3:45 PM on Saturday, 19 October he was on duty, with Police Constable Hurst at New Denaby, when he saw the defendants talking in a group at the corner by the new public house. They secreted themselves in the glasshouse yard and he saw them playing and gambling with dice. The constables watched them from  3:45 to a 4:45 o’clock, and they no doubt would have continued playing longer had not some boys coming by seen the policeman and gone across the railway and warned the defendants, who calmly picked up their apparatus and walked away.

Defendant Clubb here stated that he had never gambled a penny in his life, he was quite sure police Constable Jarvis never saw him among them.

King asked what money he gamble with.

The constable replied that he was too far off to distinguish what coins were passing between them.

Police Constable Hurst stated that on the day in question he was in company with Police Constable Jarvis and they hid themselves behind a fence in the glassworks yard and watched the defendants, who were gambling with dice for about an hour. They were continually taking money from their pockets and placing it on the piece of canvas, which was laid flat on the ground. They were all taking part in the game. He afterwards walked by the hotel with Police Constable Jarvis, and when he made for them they ran off, leaving their apparatus and 4p in coppers. The constable stated that the distance from the hotel to the place from where they were watching was 60 yards or more, but they had borrowed a field glass, and were thus able to see them to more advantage.

Lang asked police Constable Hurst where the field glass was they had used.

The constable replied that they had not brought it with them, but had returned it to the owner.

“Well, “said Lang, “You should have brought it with you; you did not see me playing with them. How do we know it was not a glass bottle you were looking through?” (Laughter)

Stonehouse said that he was not guilty. He might have been there, but he was not gambling, in fact he had never gambled a penny in his life.

The Bench convicted the defendants, fining Willets (who three previous convictions against him) 20 shillings and costs; Fearn (who had several previous convictions against him) 20 shillings and costs.; Lang (who has also appeared in the police court before), 10 shillings and costs; Clubb 10 shillings and costs, Woodland five shillings and costs; Stonehouse, King, Smith, Blower and Charlesworth were each fined 2s 6d and costs.

King asked the Bench to reserve their decision until next week, when he would find some witnesses for the defence.