In July last I wrote an article on ‘road rage’ which appeared not to be necessarily a modern phenomenon. It also appears that petty theft from allotments was also not something new. An article which appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier on Friday 12 April 1901* tells of an incident which involved members of the Lucas family and a crime that we still hear about today – theft from allotments!
The incident was reported at the Tonbridge Petty Sessions, where, first offenders, John Lucas, 20, gardener and Joseph Lucas, 16, a carter of Hayesden, were charged with stealing a quantity of growing greens, value 2d, the property of Mr John Abrey, at Tonbridge, on the 7th April. The defendants pleaded guilty.
Detective Constable Everett said that at a quarter past nine, on Sunday morning, he was on duty at the Blue Barn Allotments and saw the defendants cutting cabbage greens. They admitted that they had no leave. A representative of Mr Abrey’s, said that his master wished the Bench to dismiss the case with a caution, but he felt that he must protect other allotment holders.
The Clerk told the witness that neither he nor had Mr Abrey a right to dictate to the Bench.
Mr Webber, nurseryman, said that the elder lad was working for him and up till Lady Day he (Mr Webber) occupied the ground and he did not think that they were committing such a serious offence, and most likely thought that the greens were useless.
The Bench dealt with the case under the First Offenders’ Act.
(*via British Newspapers at Find my Past website)
Parish Magazine Article: Jan 2014: by Joyce Field