Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 25 February 2018), December 1786, trial of WILLIAM TENNANT (t17861213-3).

WILLIAM TENNANT, Theft > shoplifting, 13th December 1786.

4. WILLIAM TENNANT was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 10th day of November , two pair of cotton stockings, value 6 s. 6 d. the property of John Smith , privily in his shop .

JOHN SMITH sworn.

I am a hosier , No. 218, Holborn ; on the 10th of November, between two and three, the prisoner came in and asked to look at some striped cotton stockings; I shewed him some, and he chose one pair; then he asked for some finer; I shewed him some; he chose one pair; then he asked to look at some brown ribbed, and chose one pair of them; then some silk and worsted, and chose a pair of them; then some black, and he chose a pair of them; five pair in all; and he desired me to send them to No. 24, Great Queen-street; I told him I did not chuse to send them unless he would pay for them; he said, he had no money in his pocket; and I told him, I would go with him to the place; he said, he was not going home; I told him, I would not let him go home till I had searched him, for I had a suspicion he had something of mine.

What had raised that suspicion? - By watching a window that we have in the shop.

Did you see him take any thing? - No, I did not; I took two pair from him in a side great coat pocket.

Had those stockings any mark on them? - No, but I know them by the manufacturing; and the fine ones, I had six pair when I reached them to him; and there were but five pair when I had shewn them to him: the others I did not observe so particularly.

Were they two pair he had chosen? - No, they were of the same sort; he laid all on one side.

What did he say for himself? - He began to cry, and owned to their being mine, and begged I would let him go; here is the constable with the stockings; they cost me four shillings all but a penny.

JAMES GARDENER sworn.

I am an officer, belonging to St. George the Martyr; I took charge of the prisoner; the prosecutor brought the property to the Rotation-office, and it was delivered to me.

(Produced and deposed to.)

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I bought the stockings of a pedlar, in Holborn; and I was going by this shop, at the window I saw some of the same kind, and I went in to ask the price, to see whether I was extortioned; I agreed for five other pair; the gentleman said, he did not think I wanted to buy; he searched me and took these stockings from me, and said, they were not mine; I have nobody present to give me a character.

GUILTY, 4 s.

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

[Transportation. See summary.]