Alleged street betting at Nantwich

This report appeared in the Northwich Guardian on Tuesday 27th September, 1910. I’ve missed out what happened for the time being – as I’m interested to know if you think the defendant is guilty or not?

At the Nantwich Petty Sessions on Monday, Joseph Stephenson, butcher of Wrenbury, was summoned for having on August 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 30th and31st and on September 2nd and 6th frequented Welch-row for the purpose of betting. Mr. J. P. Whittingham defended.

P. C. Lawrence said at 12.30 on July 27th he saw the defendant riding a bicycle up and down Welch-row and he saw him stop and have a short conversation with various men. At 12.50pm he saw the defendant standing at Wood Street and the two men passed and gave him pieces of paper. On August 23rd he saw defendant going up and down Welch-row on his cycle between the hours of 12.10 p.m. and 12.50 p.m. Defendant would ride his bicycle a short distance and would then get off and hold a conversation with men and something would pass between them. On August 24th he saw the defendant riding his bicycle in Welch-row, and at l2.40 he saw him at Wood Street end. He saw men pass along the street and hand to him of slip of paper, and the defendant’s bicycle stood on the opposite side of the street. At 12.15 on August 27th he saw the defendant ride off the square, and stop and speak to several men. The defendant left bicycle outside the gas office and at 12.50p.m. he saw him standing at the end of Red Lion-lane. He again saw men pass the defendant and hand to him pieces of paper which the defendant placed in his jacket pocket. On August 30th. between 11.30 and 12.15, he saw the defendant walking up and down Welch-row with his bicycle, and on that occasion he held conversations with different men, and saw slips of paper pass between them on the river bridge. At 11.30a.m.on the 31st of August, he saw the defendant ride off the Square and he was going in the direction of Welch-row. He stopped to talk with different men, and something passed between them.  Defendant eventually went down second Wood Street. On September 2nd at 12.30pm he saw the defendant leave the Black Lion lnn, go to the bridge and converse with men there, and something passed between them. Defendant then went down the street. mounted his bicycle outside the Gas Works, and rode away in the direction of High-street. On September 6th, at 12.15 pm , he saw the defendant riding his bicycle in Welch-row and he rode a short distances, then dismounted, and spoke to different men. At one p.m., he saw him standing at the end of Wood-street, when witness saw three men pass and hand him slips of paper. Defendant  then went across the street and entered the Black Lion Inn. As he left a few minutes later witness said to him “I want you.” Defendant said “What for ?” and witness replied “I will tell you when we get to the police station. He  said “Well, you will find nothing on me.” At the police station he found on defendant £9 1s. 6d and the coupon (produced relating to football betting. The money consisted £7 in gold, £2 1s and 6d. in silver and 6d. in coppers. Of the gold £5 was in a belt which the defendant wore round his body The other money was in his pocket. After the defendant had been searched said “You can prove nothing me, only verbally.” He charged him with frequenting Welch-row for the purpose of betting in the various dates mentioned and defendant replied “I am not guilty.”

Mr. Whittingham (cross-examining): Have you got here any of the numerous men whom you say you saw handing slips to the defendant? – Witness: No.

Further examined, witness had been at Nantwich for some years. He knew most of the men, and one of them he  saw on July 27th was Thomas Tilley. – Cross-examined as to the other men whom he saw on July 27th witness was asked to say where was when he saw them. Witness said he would write the information down for the magistrates but he would not disclose his whereabouts publicly as had pledged his word of honour not divulge – The Clerk said it had been held such information need not be given. – Continuing to answer of questions of cross-examination, defendant said he did not know the man whom he saw pass slips of paper to the defendant on the 23rd of August. On August 24th from his place observation in Welch-row he saw Thomas Page, one of the men whom he saw, pass a piece paper to the defendant The people who stood usually at the end of Wood-street could see what passed if they looked. On August 27th he saw Page and a man named Scragg hand a paper to the defendant as they passed him. On August he saw two men, one like a factory hand and the other like a stable man hand slips of paper to the defendant on the River bridge. On the occasion when the defendant left the Black Lion Inn and went on the River bridge he did not know the men defendant spoke to.

When you put your hand upon him, did you say “I  want you a minute”? I said “I want you.” Did he say “what for” – He did.

Did you say to him “The boss will tell you what for?” – l did not.

Did he say to you as you walked along “What is your idea today, Lawrence?” – No.

Continuing, witness said he did not ask defendant to account for money found on him, nor did defendant say the money belonged to his master. He believed that from the time he left the street and went into the Black Lion the slips were disposed of. He did not tell him the name of a single man whom he had seen passing slips to him. At the Police Court, the Superintendent had to go away, and witness called for Sergeant Piercey and after talking to him they asked him to go in the office.

Why did you ask this man take his shoes off? – For the reason that I had seen men hand defendant slips of paper and I thought as I could not find them they might be in his boots.

Superintendent Farnworth: having seen slips passed the defendant on several dates and particularly on that morning you expected when you brought him to find these slips and when you did not find them you  considered it right to go deeper into the search? – I thought it necessary to remove his boots and search in his stockings.

To your knowledge was I on leave of absence that day?  I do not know. – Did your hear me give instructions  for Sergeant Piercey to be sent for? Yes.

Superintendent Farnworth said he was on annual leave absence this day but did not go away until later in the day. After ordering the man to be searched he asked him what was employed at. He said “l am out of employment at present.” He said when he was employed was doing a bit of buying and selling. He said he had been out of work for some time – for about nine weeks. He bought for Mr. Cliffe, his cousin, of Wrenbury. He also said he had not bought anything lately. Witness gave instructions to the man to be admitted to bail.

Sergeant Morgan said he had ascertained that the defendant last worked Gilberts’ boot factory,  Nantwich. He was discharged from there and since that time witnesses had had him under observation. He  found that he did not work and that he was in the habit of leaving the house of his cousin Richard Cliffe, with whom he resided soon after nine o’clock in the morning. He had seen him go on his bicycle to Wrenbury village, Wrenbury Canal Wharf and occasionally he had gone to the station at Wrenbury.   Then he would depart towards Nantwich. This practice had been going on for the last four months and he had never seen the defendant buying or selling.