Sunday 6 February 2011

Pigeon Thieves

Another piece of local crime from my neck of the woods ('South Hornsey' then being the name for some of modern Stoke Newington). Note the amount of money involved here ... "at least £200 worth of fowls, pigeons, rabbits &c." ... a substantial sum. Note also the mention of 'highwayman literature': youths were, it was supposed, encouraged to engage in criminality, by reading penny dreadfuls and idolising famous criminals.

CLERKENWELL. — EXTENSIVE ROBBERIES BY BOYS - HIGHWAYMAN LITERATURE - William Moore, 16 of 5, Wellington-street, Shacklewell; Arthur Noble, 18, of 16, Wellington-street, Shacklewell; Chas. Hayter, 15, of 40, Neville-road, South Hornsey; and Albert Brown, 14, of 21 Shakespeare-road, South Hornsey, were charged with being concerned togethez in stealing eight pigeons, the property of William Steel, of 25, Boughton-road, Stoko Newington. The prisoners further charged with being concerned together in stealing 32 pigeons, value 19l., the propaty of Samuel Tyzack, of 84, Stoke Newington-road. Detective,Baker, N division, informed the magistrate that the prisoners were believed to belong to a gang of youths and boys who had during the past few weeks stolen at least two hundred pounds' worth of fowls, pigeons, rabbits, &c., from the private gardets and outhouses in the neighbourhood of Stoke Newington and Islington. On Thursday night, having obtained a clue as to the identity of the robbers, he went to a disused house in Shakespeare-road, and on going to a cellar underneath he found the prisoners Hayter and Brown reclining on the ground on some shavings which they had brought for the purpose of making a bed. The prosecutor'e pigeons were all gathered together in a hamper, which was tied up ready for removal. On the officer entering Hayter turned a bull's-eye lantern upon him saving, "Oh, you've come, have you. All right." Baker then searched the prisonsrs, and found in their pockets four large coloured prints, the size of an ordinary newspaper, representing the deeds of highwaymen—"Brave Claud Duval," "Dick Turpin's Ride," &c. He took the prisoners into custody, and afterwards apprehended Moore and Noble, who in a defiant manner admitted having been concerned in planning the robbery.—Evidence was also given that the boys had on a previous date stolen the pigeons named in the second charge from the house in Stoke Newington-road. It was proved that they sold the pigeons to fancy dealers, and they now admitted the fact.—Mr. Hannay sentenced Moore and Noble to one month's imprisonmont with hard labour. Hayter and Brown he remanded for a week, in order to see if they could be sent to an industrial school.
Daily News 1884

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