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1913: Alleged bicycle theft in Cuckfield

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 26 August 1913



Yesterday (Monday), at Haywards Heath Petty Sessions, before Mr. E. Huth, D.L. (Chairman), and other Magistrates, William George Sharpe, said to be a North countryman, was charged, on remand, with stealing a bicycle, value £3, the property of Thomas Card, of the Ship Inn at Cuckfield on August 11th.

A smart bit of police work was recorded. Thomas Card, the “Ship,” Cuckfield, said that on August 11th he left the bicycle in the stable next to his house. He left that day for a holiday, and it was not missed before the police made enquiries. Witness identified the machine produced, and valued it at £3.

The Ship Inn Whitemans Green c1910

P.C. Clarke, Metropolitan Police, stated that about 10.15 a.m. on the 12th inst. he saw the prisoner riding a bicycle on the Brixton Road. Witness’s attention was drawn to him because he had no trouser-clips and by his general appearance. Witness approached him, and he dismounted. Witness asked him if the cycle belonged to him, and he replied “Yes, I gave £3 10s. for it.” Witness asked him where he was going, and he said “I’m going to Poplar. I have been in the country to get work.” Witness told him that as his explanation was unsatisfactory he should take him into custody and charge him with being in unlawful possession of the bicycle. Witness took him to Brixton Police Station, where he was charged, and on being charged he replied “I stole the ‘bike.’ I got it from a place called Cuckfield, near Brighton.” Prisoner was subsequently handed over to the Sussex police. The bicycle produced was the one prisoner had.

In reply to prisoner, witness said prisoner was riding the bicycle.

Prisoner said he was pushing the bicycle. He had not breath enough to ride it.

P.S.H. PILBEAM, Haywards Heath, said that the 19th inst., from information received, he went to Lambeth Police Court, where the prisoner was brought on a charge of being in unlawful possession of the bicycle, and was discharged. Witness at once re-arrested him, cautioned him, and charged him with stealing the bicycle at Cuckfield on August 11th.. Prisoner made no reply. Witness then brought him to Haywards Heath. On the way down prisoner said “I took it from a stable about three o’clock on Monday (11th) near a ‘pub’ at Cuckfield.

Prisoner asked that the case might be settled now. He said he was in bad health, in consumption, and when he got over this affair he would go back to his own town and go into the Infirmary.

The Clerk (Mr. E. J. Waugh); The magistrates cannot deal with it summarily.

Prisoner was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions Lewes on October 15th.

P.C. Clarke was called forward, and the Chairman said the Magistrates wished to commend his conduct in arresting the prisoner.

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