1919: A Spate of Jam Thefts from the Toddington Jam Factory

In April 1919, following a spate of jam thefts from the Toddington Jam Factory, a number of Deakin’s employees appeared in the Winchcombe Court.

Alfred Willett, aged 15, appeared in the Children’s Court before Capt. H.A. Case, H. Dent Brocklehurst, and J.A. Oakey, charged with stealing a tin of jam on 2 April 1919, valued at 2s. Willett denied taking the jam and as the police officer (PS O’Rouke) who had been sent to the defendant’s home was unable to find the missing tin, the bench dismissed the case as there was insufficient evidence to convict Alfred.

Appearing in front of the Adult Court, before Major G.T. Noel and Capt. J.H. Sexty was Amelia Fry, a married woman, charged with stealing three tins of Deakin’s jam with a value of 6s from the Toddington Jam Factory. Three tins were found to be on Fry’s possession when she was searched later the same evening by the Mrs Lucy Foster, matron of the hostel where Amelia was living.

Employee, Arthur Banner, was charged with stealing two tins of jam with a value of 4s. Factory Manager, William G. Deakin caught up with Banner on his way home and found the two tins in his basket. Arthur was fined £2 10s 0d (including costs) by the Court.

Edward Pearson was another Deakin’s employee prosecuted. Pearson was in the company of Willett and Banner when he was found with loose tins of jam in his possession. Pearson claimed that Henry Horne, the jam factory foreman, had given him permission to take the tins in lieu of a wage increase (Pearson was on 11d per hour having started on 7 1/2d per hour in January). Henry Horne, denied giving Pearson permission to take the tins. The case against Pearson was dismissed.

Michael Glassea and Karl Schall, German prisoners of war from the Toddington camp, were charged with stealing two tins of jam on 1 April 1919, with a value of 6s, the property of the Great Western Railway Company. The defendants had been sent to Toddington railway station for some goods and whilst at the station had taken a tin of jam each from a consignment of jam that had just come in from the Deakin’s factory. A search of the men found the jam in their possession. Each of the men were fined £2 10s 0d or one month’s imprisonment each.

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