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1850: Whiteman's Green boys stake out hay thieves

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 23 May 1850


On Monday last, James Hayler, jun., of Whiteman’s Green, was charged at Mr Wailer’s office, before Captain Preston, with stealing 6 cwt. of hay, the property of Mr Byass, surgeon, of Cuckfield. and Thomas Field was also charged with receiving the same with a knowledge of its being the produce of a felony.

Two boys acted as 'look out' and saw the felon in action

Repeated robberies having been committed lately, especially at the stack in question, two boys, named Saunders and Goatcher, working for Mr Croucher of Whiteman’s Green, took upon themselves “look out” and about nine o’clock on Saturday evening they saw the prisoner Hayler go to the stack with a hay knife. He commenced a “cant,” and removing the top, put it aside, and bound up a bundle with which he went off, and the boys watched him to the premises of Field, who is a shopkeeper and keeps cows.

Hayler returned to the stack repeatedly until he had carried away the whole of the “cant,” or section of the stack he had begun and the boys then informed Mr Byass, who sent his servant, Steadman, to investigate the matter. Steadman imprudently went to Field before going to Inspector Flanagan, who subsequently found that the whole of the hay had been carried back again and thrown over the fence. He, however, took the parties into custody; and they were committed for trial. We hear that Field was convicted of the same offence in 1845. The boys deserve to be rewarded by the Prosecuting Society, of which Mr Byass is member.



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