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1865: Clothes thief on the loose in Cuckfield

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Chichester Express and West Sussex Journal - Tuesday 31 January 1865

Petty robberies.—A number of petty robberies have again taken place here.

Thursday evening last, a woman, named Holman, neglected to take in a quantity of articles she had washed until after it was dark, and, as the night was extremely wet, she let them alone until the morning, but some thief, who must have seen them the evening before, had slipped in before it was light, and carried off the whole, consisting of towels, under dresses, and variety of wearing apparel.

This occurred at Broad Street; and an evening or two before, a drying ground at the top of the town was visited in a like manner, and lot of clothes, belonging Mr. Ewins, whitesmith*, was carried away; and Mr. Dann, photographist+, was also robbed from his garden, of linen, stockings, and children’s clothes. Mr. Neil, wheelwright, of Whiteman’s Green, also lost a very considerable quantity of the same kind of gear on the same day.

Broad Street c1900

At another house, occupied by a poor man, the door was suddenly opened, and as suddenly shut by the same person, the window being darkened, but seeing a light, the intruder quietly decamped, and the man, supposing it be his wife returned from shopping, and who, as it was very wet and dirty, he thought had gone round the house to clean her shoes, did not pursue soon enough to catch him, but his daughter plainly heard some one run away who, no doubt intended to slip in, and pick up anything they might see lying about.

*A whitesmith is a metalworker who does finishing work on iron and steel such as filing, lathing, burnishing or polishing. The term also refers to a person who works with "white" or light-coloured metals, and is sometimes used as a synonym for tinsmith.

+ (see under Edwin Dann). He was active as a photographer in Cuckfield from 1859 to around 1872



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