Name: Robert Smith
Arrested for: not given
Arrested at: North Shields Police Station
Arrested on: 27 July 1905
Tyne and Wear Archives ref: DX1388-1-75-Robert Smith
Images are also available of his accomplices James Curry www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16091228094/in/album-72157...
and John Curry www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16091228264/in/album-72157...
The Shields Daily News for 28 July 1905 reports:
“THEFT FROM SMITH’S DOCK. THREE NORTH SHIELDS MEN SENT TO PRISON.
At North Shields Police Court today, Robert Smith (48), fireman, 9 Middle Street, Milburn Place; John Curry (39), 25 Front Street, and James Curry (35), 3 West Street, Milburn Place, marine store dealers, were charged on remand with having stolen from Messrs Smith’s Pontoon Dock, on the 25th inst., a quantity of brass valued at £4 17s 1d.
John Craigie, foreman fitter with the prosecutors, said that on the morning of the 26th inst. he went into the engine room of the pontoon and missed a quantity of brass. In the afternoon of the same day he accompanied an officer to No.25 Front Street, Milburn Place, and there identified a portion of the stolen metal.
James C. Smith, store keeper with Messrs Smith’s Dock Coy. Ltd, said that on the morning of the 26th inst. He missed a quantity of brass, and afterwards went to the Central Police Station. He was there shown a quantity of brass, which he identified as the property of Messrs Smith. The total weight of the metal was 116 lbs and the value was $4 17s 1d.
Joseph Garrick, a rigger and stevedore, said that on the 25th inst, he saw Smith and James Curry go into the Aberllelyn Arms in Front Street, Milburn Place. At a late hour on the same night he saw Smith go over the wall of Messrs Smith’s premises, enter the engine room and afterwards leave with a bag of metal. He gave information to the police.
PC Cuerton said that at 11.40pm on the 25th inst. he saw John Curry go into his house and at midnight he saw his brother leave the house and walk in the direction of his own.
Detective Sergt. Scougal said that at noon on the 26th inst. he went to the house of John Curry with a search warrant and found underneath the bed a quantity of brass, which was identified as the property of Messrs Smith by the witness Craigie. He then proceeded to No. 9 Middle Street, where he saw Smith. He told him he was going to take him to the Bull Ring Police Station, whereupon his wife said: “What’s the matter, Bob?”. Accused replied: “There has been some brass stolen from Smith’s”. Witness charged him with having stolen the brass, and he replied: “I know nothing about it”.
At five o’clock the same afternoon he met the two Currys in the Borough Road and told them he was going to take them to the Bull Ring Police Station. They both replied: “It is only a bit of spite because we would not do the same as him”. The following morning he charged the three of the prisoners with the theft. Smith replied: “I have nothing to say”. John Curry replied: “We got the best part of the brass from the saw mills, We only got two small pieces from Smith and gave him a couple of bob for them”. James in answer to the charge said they got most of the metal from the saw mills. Formally charged, the whole of the prisoners pleaded guilty.
Mr G.R. Duncan, who represented the accused, said that Smith, who could produce discharges covering a period of twenty years, showing an excellent character, had been employed for some time as a fireman by the prosecuting firm. Unfortunately, having got some drink, he yielded to the temptation while working on the night shift, and in consequence had lost his situation. Both he and his wife were most distressed about it. The two Currys were licensed marine store dealers bearing good characters.
The Chairman said the case was too serious to be dealt with under the First Offenders’ Act and the amount involved was too large to permit of a fine being imposed. The prisoners would each be committed for a month".
These images are a selection from an album of photographs of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court between 1902 and 1916 in the collection of Tyne & Wear Archives (TWA ref DX1388/1).
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