1893: Perseverance pays off as Burglars pursued and caught in Cuckfield


West Sussex County Times - Saturday 15 July 1893


A SMART CRAWLEY CONSTABLE.


P.C. Avis, of Crawley, was heartily congratulated by the Haywards Heath magistrates on Monday. It was mainly through Avis’ keenness and perseverance that four men whom the bench committed for trial on charge of burglary were captured.


The prisoners, John Hills, George Thomas Jones, Albert Pardon, and Edward Lumley, hailed from New Cross, and soon after their passage through Handcross information was given to P.C. Avis that a robbery had been committed at Crawley. It was at a quarter to eight that the constable was warned. He had a couple of miles or more to travel to reach the scene of the robbery, and having made investigations found the prints of an indian rubber—soled tennis shoe. These footprints he traced to Handcross, where P.C. Anscombe joined the Crawley constable.

Harvest Hill - where the robbers were found sleeping

Still following the tracks in the dust, the constables found the marks leading them towards Cuckfield. P.C. Suter, a Cuckfield policeman, met his comrades at Hammerhill, and, joining in the pursuit, the trio reached Slough-place. P.C. Avis stuck to the trail which led through Cuckfield town, while the other constables took a short cut by way of the Wyllies-lane, which skirts Cuckfield Park and emerges on the high road at Ansty. Here they traced the footprints again, and just before P.C. Avis reached the spot P.C.'s Anscombe and Suter had found the men they wanted asleep in a wood close by the roadside at Harvest Hill, with a large box of stolen property in their possession.


The distance between the scene of the robbery and the place of arrest is about eight miles, and by a quarter to twelve the prisoners were in custody.

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