Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 February 2023), August 1886, trial of GEORGE CROFTS (34) (t18860803-810).

GEORGE CROFTS, Theft > stealing from master, 3rd August 1886.

810. GEORGE CROFTS (34) , Unlawfully inciting Edward William Wallis to steal the goods of John Hugil and others his masters.

MR. WARBURTON Prosecuted.

EDWARD WILLIAM WALLIS . I live at 70, Sherridan Street, Commercial Road, East, and am warehouse-porter to Megeson and Co., wholesale druggists of 14, Mill Lane, City—John Hugil is a partner—I have been there just on six years—it was part of my duty to go the Steam Packet public-house, Lower Thames Street, to obtain food for the other men—I went there as usual on Wednesday, 14th July, and saw the prisoner there; I had seen him three times before; he started talking something about horse-racing, and then came to my side and smelt me and said "Have you anything on you?"—I said "No, I don't know what you mean"—he said "Where are you working?"—I said "Megeson and Co., Mill Lane, Thames Street"—he said "Could you get me anything?. If you can I will make it worth your while, it doesn't matter what it is; can you get me any quinine, I think that is more expensive?"—I said "I don't know"—I arranged to see him another time—on the following Saturday I had a conversation with a man named Harvey, who is in my master's employ, and in consequence of that I made a communication to Mr. Hugil—I received certain directions from him and met the prisoner again at the Steam Packet on Monday at dinner-time—he said" Have you got anything with you?"—I said "No, I will see you another time "—he said "Try and bring something out with you if you can"—I said "I don't know whether 1 can or not"—I had seen Oldhampstead before that—the prisoner fixed Tuesday, the next day, for me to see him, and I went to the Steam Packet and saw him—he said "Have you got anything? "—I said "No"—he said "Can you bring anything?"—I said "No"—he said "Can't you bring me anything in here at five o'clock? I am known in here:" this was in front of the bar: "It is all right, people mind their business here"—I objected going to the Steam Packet—at five o'clock that day Mr. Hugil gave me three bottles of citrate of quiuine and one of chloral to take to the Boar's Head in Cannon Street, where he had promised to meet me—Oldhampstead followed me a little in the background—the prisoner did not come and I was going back and met him—we returned to the Boar's Head, and when we got inside he said "What are you going to have?" and called for two half pints of ale—he then said "Give us what you have got"—I gave him this big bottle—he said "Well, I have not got much money, but here is sixpence"—I then gave him these three bottles and he wanted to give me the other sixpence he had got, but I did not take it—I said I did not want to take the last sixpence from him—he said "That is the style, get me what you can, it is worth your while, it doesn't matter what it is"—he said he would meet me next day at the Steam Packet and see how I got on—I said "All right," and went back to work and told my master about the interview—I believe Old-hampstead was in the public-house listening, when I gave him the bottles—on Wednesday, at three o'clock, I met the prisoner at the Steam Packet public-house—he said "It is right oil"—I said "What do you mean?"—

he said "I never sold them, I took them but I could not get the price I wanted for them," and said he had left them at a public house in Mile End Road—on Wednesday, a week afterwards, he said "If you see anything on the counter and no one is there, whip it up and bring it round to me, I am always there"—I said "I will see what I can do—I went back and told my master—next day I whipped up these two bottles of sulphate of quinine and took them to the Boar's Head—he was not there, and I was coming back and met him at the statue in Cannon Street—we returned to the Boar's Head and he gave me a glass, and then he said "Come on, give us what you have got, have you got quinine?"—I said "I think it is"—he said "The others are all right, I left them down the Mile End Road, what time do you knock off work? I have got to go down there and I will meet you and take you down there"—he was then arrested, with the two bottles in his possession.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. Wednesday was the first time I had spoken to you, I had seen you three times previously—I always used the same compartment, the one the two stools are in—there were sometimes stools in the compartment where you suggested this and sometimes there were not any—on this occasion I did not come into a strange compartment but into the same one—I don't know a young man named Alfred—there was only one man there—I did not say to Alfred or to you "What are you going to stand?"—on the Tuesday you said if I had got anything, I could leave it behind the bar at the Steam Packet—I said "No," I did not like leaving things there because the men of the firm used that house—you made the appointment to meet me at the Boar's Head and you were not there, and I met you coming along King William Street—I did not come to the house in Thames Street to find you and call you out—I did not say at the Boar's Head "I have got this for Alfred, but you can have them, take them and do the best with them, and I will see you to-morrow morning"—I said I was hard up and you gave me sixpence—on the Wednesday you met me at three and you asked me to meet you again at five o'clock at the Boar's Head and bring them there and give them to the barmaid—I said I did not like to—you said "Well, take it to the old shop," that is the Steam Packet—I met you in King William Street carrying some flowers and a pine apple, and accompanied you to the Boar's Head, and I gave you these two bottles there, and when you got outside the policeman took you—you appeared to be half-drunk—I swear I never had a conversation with you before the Wednesday—I told you about my employer's place not being insured, but I did not say it was because the drugs in it were liable to fire, they would not insure them—I did not tell you about one of the men giving me some of their cast-off clothing, and I did not tell you I lived in Stepney and had a wife and child; I have a wife but not a child, but I did not tell you that—I have on one occasion given the barmaid some sweet-drops from my establishment, I do not know their names—the sweets belonged to my employers, but we are allowed a few if we ask for them—I was there once when a man sold an organ, but I did not tell you I had a thing at home to sell which had taken me many years to make—I have got nothing at home which I have made.

WILLIAM OLDHAMPSTEAD (Detective officer). On Tuesday 22nd July I went to Messrs. Megeson's premises and there saw Wallis and Mr. Hugil the partner—Wallis made some communication and I saw Hugil

give him these bottles which I marked—I then went with another officer to the Boar's Head and remained there till 5.30 and then saw the prisoner and Wallis come in and saw him give the prisoner these bottles—on the Wednesday I marked these bottles and then went to the Boar's Head and saw Wallis give them to the prisoner, they had some conversation together and I then went up to the prisoner and said "We are detective officers, we are going to take you into custody for inciting a lad to steal from Messrs. Megeson and Co., wholesale druggists; what have you about you"—he said "I have nothing"—I said "Where are those bottles this lad gave you?"—he said "I have no bottles"—I felt his pocket and from the outside I felt them—I said "Who is that lad that left you?"—he said "I shall answer no questions" or "I shall give you no explanation "—at that time he had a pine apple—I took him to the station and saw these two bottles taken from his coat pocket—I had information through Wallis that the other bottles could be found at a tavern in the Mile End Road and I went and fetched them—the barmaid is not here—the prisoner gave his address in Brick Lane, I inquired and found he was not known there.

Cross-examined. You said you lived in Brick Lane, but did not give any number, you also said your brother lived in Brick Lane, I went and saw him and he said he had given you 5s. a week to keep you out of trouble, and he did not want to see you any more, as you had cost him too much money now—I have made no inquiries about you except at the public-house where these things were, and they knew nothing about you except that you lived at some coffee-house somewhere.

HENRY ERNEST ATTWOOD . I am a partner in the firm of Hugil, Megeson and Co., wholesale druggists, Mill Lane—on Tuesday 20th July I was present when Mr. Hugil gave Wallis these bottles of the firm to take to the prisoner—these four are worth 12s. 6d., and these two 10s.

The prisoner in his defence stated that Wallis had frequently thrust himself into his society, and that he had had to go into another compartment to get out of his way, that he had brought him sweets and handed him these bottles, but if he had known they were stolen he should not have taken them there and then stood in front of the counter, he also stated that he was not sober at the time.

GUILTY .— Ten Months' without Hard Labour.