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1856: Ratcatcher charged with trespassing

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 02 December 1856

CUCKFIELD. Petty Sessions, Monday, (yesterday).—Present: J. M. Norman, Esq., in the chair, N. Borrer, W. Sergison, and J. Esdaile, Esqrs.

Phillip Picker, ratcatcher of Cuckfield, was charged with trespassing grounds in the occupation of Mr. Thos. Bannister, ln pursuit of game. William Sutton, gamekeeper to S. Spearing, Esq., deposed that on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 16th, at three o'clock, he saw defendant hunting a pit in the Horn field, Ardingly, with two dogs, a Scotch terrier and a spaniel.

Ratcatcher c1850s William Collins 19th century. British Museum.

He then went to a hedgerow in the same field where he sprung a cock and a hen pheasant. The hen pheasant settled again behind him, and he went back to the spot. Witness then went out to him, and told him he had been cautioned before, and it could not be looked over this time.

Defendant said he was seeking for rats. Did not see any wires set. He had no gun with him, but a stick, and acted as if he meant catching the pheasants with his dogs.

Defendant said he was merely looking around for rats to catch another day, and had no intention to destroy game.

Mr. Bannister said he used to catch rats for him formerly, but since Mr. Spearing had been there shooting, he had warned defendant not to come on his land.

Fined 5s. costs 19s. 9d. To be paid in a month.

In default one calendar month's imprisonment.

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