Taunton Courier 15 Dec 1920 Bicycle Theft at Taunton includes Tom BRUCE Richard PEARSE and Albert OATEN Cycle Agent of Station Road

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal and Western Advertiser Wednesday 15 Dec 1920

Page 1 Column 6




At Taunton Borough Police-court on Monday, before Mr. J. P. SIBLEY (in the chair) and Mr. F. W. PENNY, Tom BRUCE, a gunner in the R.G.A., stationed at Topsham Barracks, Exeter, was charged on remand with stealing a bicycle, valued £7, the property of Richard PEARSE, at Rowbarton, on the 4th December. - Prisoner pleaded guilty.

P.C. WILLS stated that on Saturday, December 4th, at about 7.30 p.m., in consequence of a complaint received from Albert FOURACRE, he went and saw the prisoner, who was in possession of a bicycle. Witness asked him how he got it, and he replied that he bought it for £2. Witness further questioned him, and, not being satisfied with his replies, he took him to the Police-station. In consequence of a telephone message received later in the evening, witness charged prisoner with stealing the bicycle, the property of Mr. Richard PEARSE, and he repeated the statement that he had bought the machine for £2.

Albert FOURACRE, cycle agent, of Station-road, said that on Saturday, December 4th, at 7.30 p.m., prisoner came to his shop, and asked him if he would buy a bicycle. Witness enquired where the machine was, and he replied “Down the street; I will be back with it in about twenty minutes.” Prisoner came back within two or three minutes, and then had the bicycle outside the shop. Witness asked him what he wanted for it, and he replied “Eight guineas.” Witness replied that that was rather a lot for it, and then prisoner came down to four guineas. Witness was suspicious, and he communicated with the police. Witness added that he asked prisoner where he lived, and he replied “Rowbarton.”

Evelyn BROWLEY, who at the time of the offence was staying at Harwood's lodging-house, East Reach, deposed that on Saturday, December 4th, at 6.30 p.m., he was in the company of the prisoner at Rowbarton. Prisoner pointed to a bicycle outside Messrs. W. Pearse & Son's shop premises, and said “There's a bicycle there; I can make money out of it.” Witness left the prisoner, and walked across the road, and turning round, saw the prisoner mount the bicycle and ride away with it up the town. Witness knew nothing more about it until the police came to him and made enquiries, and he did not know whose bicycle it was until he was told.

P.S. GILES informed the Bench that prisoner was an absentee from the Army.

An officer from Topsham Barracks was present in Court, and gave the prisoner a bad character, adding that they had not further use for him in the Army.

P.S. GILES further stated that prisoner was convicted at Exeter on the 5th November last for being drunk and disorderly. He had given a good deal of trouble at the Police-station, and on the morning he was brought up for a remand he broke all his clothes to pieces in his cell. “The theft of bicycles (added the sergeant) is largely on the increase in Taunton, as well as other places, and I hope the Bench will assist the police in trying to stop it.”

Prisoner said he was a married man, and his wife was in very poor circumstances owing to the Army keeping her down.

The Chairman: It seems to be your fault, and not the Army's

The Bench sentenced prisoner to one month's hard labour.

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<NOTES: Albert FOURACRE is Albert Edward FOURACRE son of James Henry FOURACRE and Julia HEMBROW, married Ellen Matilda FOURACRE>