Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 19 May 1939
Mill Safe Theft
Bolton Mystery Solved
Unemployed Men Sent To Prison
Charges of office breaking, dealt with as larceny, at Bolton and Goldthorpe, were admitted to the West Riding magistrates at Doncaster on Wednesday by two unemployed men, George Kitchen (46), of Bolton-on-Dearne, and Jason Depledge (40), of Thurnscoe. They were each sent to prison for twelve months.
In one case they had thrown a safe and a number of books into a river. They were charged with stealing a safe value £5, books and ledgers from the office of Messrs. J. H. Parsons Ltd., of Bolton-on-Dearne, and stealing a half-penny from the Ministry of Labour Office at Goldthorpe, Bolton-on-Dearne.
The accused admitted both charges. Kitchen said “It was done in drink.”
“It is a pity you cannot find something better to do than going round breaking into offices at night” said the chairman, Mr. Mark Nokes, sentencing the men to six months hard labour each on each charge.
Mr. H C. Linney, of the West Riding soliciters’ department, Wakefield, prosecuting said that early on the morning of May 6th, P.c’s Hayward and Robson were in Dearne Road, Bolton-on-Dearne, and met the two prisoners. Kitchen was carrying a small wooden box under his arm. The officers were suspicious and stopped the men and asked them where they had been. Kitchen replied that they had been to catch birds but had not been lucky. Kitchen’s pockets appeared to be well weighted.
In Kitchen’s pockets were found housebreaking implements, two chisels, a hammer, hacksaw blades and a flash lamp. Kitchen said “We might as well tell you. We have done the dole office.” Depledge ran away and one of the constables chased him but was unable to catch him. The constable went back and helped the other to take Kitchen to the police station.
In Kitchen’s possession was a halfpenny which he admitted having stolen from the Employment Exchange at Goldthorpe. Kitchen said ”We have only just left the job. We could not get the safe open.”
Depledge was arrested at his home and he said “I was a fool to go with him.” The men were charged and made a statement admitting that they had broken into the Employment Exchange and Messrs. Parson’s mill office.
Continuing. Mr. Linney said that Kitchen, in his statement, said that at 1 a.m. on April 15th he went with Depledge to Parsons’ mill, forced a window and climbed through. “I was wearing kid gloves,” said Kitchen, “I forced the drawers and we went through them. We lifted the safe off the stand in Mr Parson’s office, got a wheelbarrow from the warehouse and after putting the safe on it wheeled it through the yard on to the road. We took the safe down by the side of the River Dearne. I used a hacksaw round the safe lock and we found no money in the safe. I put the books into a sack and threw them into the river and then pushed the safe and wheelbarrow into the river. I could see the robbery had been discovered because lights were on in the office.”
Mr. Linney said the books had been recovered from the river. Depledge had made a statement that he went into the office and helped to take the safe away.
In his statement about the Employment Exchange offence Kitchen said that on the evening of May 5th that he met Depledge at Bolton and went home with him for supper. “At 11.30 p.m.,” his statement continued.” we left home and went to the “Sludge” Pit office first, but a bloke was in the yard and we went away. We went to the Labour Exchange in the Wesleyan Hall, Goldthorpe. We went through the drawers but could only find a halfpenny, which the police found on me. I tried to open the safe but the hacksaw blade broke. Depledge became anxious and we went before I could open the safe. We went a long way round but we were caught by the police as we were getting near home.”
Depledge confirmed this in his statement.
Continuing. Mr. Linney said that rather than go empty handed the man took a halfpenny with him. His attempt on the safe was tolerably well done, for two hinges were sawn through.
Prisoners admitted that Mr. Linney’s statement was correct.
Kitchen said he had been out of work for years and Depledge since last November.
Detective Inspector Lee said Kitchen had 23 convictions, including seven for larceny. Depledge had eight convictions, including two for larceny and one for false pretences.