ο»Ώ Wholesale Shebeening in the Conway Valley.|1910-12-09|The North Wales Weekly News - Welsh Newspapers Online
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Wholesale Shebeening in the Conway Valley. A POLICEMAN'S THIRST AS A NAVVY. PROSECUTIONS AT CONWAY. At the Conway Police Court, on Mon- day, before Col. Mostyn and other magi- strates, Owen Hughes, a Gyffin grocer and provision dealer, who also keeps a hut on the mountain side at Dolgarrog, was sum- moned by D. E. Jones, Excise Officer, for selling beer without a licence on the 6th August last. Mr. C. E. Fitzroy, of the Solicitors' De- partment, H.M. Customs and Exise, ap- peared to prosecute, and Mr. R. S. Cham- berlain appeared for the defendant and pleaded not guilty. Mr. Fitzroy said that on the afternoon in question P.C. O. G. Hughes (56) dressed himself as a navvy and went into the de- fendants hut at Dolgarrog. He ordered certain groceries, and while there another mm entered and ordered some cabbages, and asked Hughes if he had any beer. The defendant replied in the affirmative, and the disguised constable was invited to have a drink. They had several drinks together, and afterwards went into a back room, in which they found four men seated, two of them having drinks in front of them. The disguised policeman had several pints of beer, and the other man bottles of stout, and they all paid for to the defendant. After being in there a quarter of an hour P.C. Hughes left, and outside met P.C. Jones, Ty'nygroes, in uniform. They went back into the premises, and the uniformed officer told Hughes that he had been selling beer without a licence. Hughes asked when he served the r, and he was told half an hour ago, and on seeing the disguised policeman he admitted selling two pints of beer and some tobacco, and would not deny it. The police searched the premises and found two empty casks and one 18-gallon cask full, and this was seized and removed to the station at Conway. The de- fendant had no licence whatever, and he (Mr. Fitzroy) asked that such a penalty should be imposed as would put a stop to the illegal sale of beer. With the rough element in that neighbourhood, they could .obtain as much br as (they liked, and there would be fighting and all sorts of feuds P.C. Owen G. Hughes (56) said he was instructed by the Deptiiy Chief Constable in the matter. He dressed himself as a navvy and went inside the defendant's hut and ordered a threepenny loaf, a quarter of a pound of corned beef, and half an ounce of thin twist, and he was served. While inside a young man entered and asked for cabbages, and he also asked Hughes if he had a bottle of stout. Witness then ordered a pint of beer a a bottle of stout for the young man, and defendant took them through to a back room, in which were seated four other men, two of whom had drinks in front of them. They were all served again by he defendant. After re- maining there fifteen minutes he went out and met P.C. Jones (66), who went inside, and witness followed. They searched the premises and found two empty casks and one full of beer. In reply to Mr. Chamberlain, the witness said he had never been in the district be- fore. He did not know how many huts there were on the mountain, neither did he know that each one of them was selling beer. Mr. Chamberlain: It is all news to you? —Yes. Mr. Fitzroy: It is news to me, too. Mr. Chamberlain: Well it is for you to catch them. It is a fact, and you can take it for what it is worth. Continuing, the witness said he never heard that it was with the connivance of the police that the beer was sold in the huts, so that the navvies could be kept from making a row in the village. Mr. Chamberlain Were you thirsty that evening?—Wei), I was. At any rate, +hey sold good stuff, didn't they?—ft was not bad. (Laughter.) P.C. Wm. Jones, Ty'nygroes, corroborated the evidence as to searching the premises, and added that the defendant said he could not deny serving P.C. Hughes. Cross-exam:n?d he said he remembered the time when the works were started about three years ago, and there were at that time between 300 and 400 men there. There were ia number of lodging huts erected for the men on the mountain side. He very likely would bay had more trouble in the village if the men came down there for drink. Now tell me quite honestly. Didn't you know that there was something of this sort likely to be going on somewhere?—No, sir. Never heard of it? I want to ask you because it has been seen. Where did you suspect that the beer which was carted through the village in the day time was going ito?—I made inquiries, and I was told between 40 and 50 of the navvies in one hut had clubbed together to get beer. I quite accept. That may be perfectly true. How many times did you see beer going?—Not many. You did not know that the men in the I other huts were selling beer?—No, I did I not. The works were shut up for months, anc re-opened, and was this the first time the defendant began to sell any beer?—I could not say. I may say, however, that he had only been in the hut a month. D. E. Jones, Excise officer, Llanrwst, gave evidence that the defendant did not hold a licence, and when he investigated the mat- ter the defendant said, I did sell, but I thought it was the understood thing to sell beer on the mountain to prevent the navvies going down into the valley." THE DEFENCE. The defendant was called, and he said that he took a hut on the mountain at Dol- garrog for the sale ot groceries, and there were five or six similar huts there. When the works weie first opened he did not sell any beer or liquor there. He knew that the others had been selling beer. It was common knowledge, and there was no dis- I guise at all about it. He honestly believed that they were allowed to sell to keep the navvies from agoing to the valley. The other huts had been selling beer all the time, and the farmers also took part in the trade. It would mean a 2J hours' walk to the village if the navvies wanted a pint of beer. Cross-examined, defendant said he re- membered the prosecution in March, 1908, but that man was selling on the main road between two public-houses, and he bought his direct from the firm. He (defendant) did not do that. It was common knowledge that all the huts were selling beer. For the defence, Mr. Chamberlain said that avoiding the proper taxes of the country was a serious offence. He would say now, and it could not be contradicted by the polic, that it would have been much more satisfactory if somebody had had a licence to sell beer on the mountain, instead of leaving the temptation to people to carry on an illicit trade. Defendant was a re- spectable man, and had only been a month in the hut, and he ventured to say that the police did know of the other offenders. He considered that there was a good deal of ground for the defendant's erroneous belief that THE THING WAS TO BE WINKED AT, but he did not ask the magistrates to wink at it, but suggested that they should im- pose a fine of moderate dimensions. The magistrates, after a short consulta- tion, fined the defendant £5 and costs, and ordered the beer seized to be destroyed. Arising from this case, a charge was pre- ferred against William Roberts, licensee of the Bedol Tnn, Talybont, of aiding and abetting Hughes. Mr. James Marks was for the defendant, and he pleaded not guilty. The first witness was the defendant in the last case, and he said that on the day in question he received a cask of beer from Roberts, the number of which was 36S44. It was the'cask that was seized by the police. He also received casks on the 13th, 15th, and 21st July. He sold the beer, as they had heard in the last case. He obtained ibeeff from other 'sources besides Roberts. It was carted up to the hut by a man nam- ed W. P. Williams. What was the average quantity of beer you got rid of in a month?—During the month I was there I had four and a half barrels, and three of these were from Ro- berts. Did you sell the beer at 3d. per pint?— Yes. And you paid Roberts for it at the rate of £1 per 18 gallons?—Yes. So that you made a profit of 32s. on every barrel of 36 gallons?—If there was 36 gal- lons in the barrel. It depends on the quantity. Replying to Mr. Marks, the witness said he had tapped the barrel, but he could not say how it was now since it had been in the police station. (Laughter.) W. Pierce Williams, a farm servant living at Dolgarrog, said he carted beer from the Bedol to a farm near Owen Hughes' hut. He had delivered beer on several occasions. A clerk from the brewery firm of Messrs. Marston and Thompson said that the de- fendant was a customer of theirs, but not an agent. Barrel 36844 was consigned from Burton to Talycafn station on August 2nd, addressed to the defendant. D. E. Jones, the Excise officer, said he called with the defendant on the 26th August, and he claimed to be an agent for Messrs. Marston and Thompson. Francis D. Drake, Supervisor of Inland Revenue, said he also called upon the de- fendant, who told him that he was an agent, and that he got 30 per cent. commis- sion for the sale. Susequently Roberts call- ed with the witness at Rhyl, and said he would not claim to be an agent. Cross-examined, he had known Roberts for seven years, and as far as the Excise were concerned he had always conducted the Bedol Inn well. It was not unusual for a licensee of a country inn to sell a good many barrels of beer. He wished to be fair "to Roberts, and would state that Ro- berts had done everything to give witness all possible information concerning the case. ir. Marks now suggested that the case should be withdrawn, as there was no legal evidence to support a criminal offence. Mr. Fitzroy said that under the circum- stances he would withdraw the case, but he should like to say that the case was brought so that it could be made widely known that publicans were not allowed to send beer out like this. That was really the whole object of the prosecution. A further charge of selling beer wholesale without a licence under the Finance Act was proceeded with against Roberts. Mr. Fitzroy asked whether Mr. Marks seriously contested the case, and Mr. Marks replied 'in the affirmative. Mr. Fitzrov said that an 18-gallon cask was sold by Roberts to Owen Hughes. Al- though the Finance Act came into force on the 29th April this offence took place on the 6th August. No Act of recent years had caused such a disturbance among licence holders, and ignorance of the law was no excuse. r Mir. Marks admitted the whole of the facts, but added that the Finance Act raised so many questions that it was very hard lines on a wayside licence holder to expect him to know anything about it. There was no circular or any intimation sent by any authority whatever to the licensee. In ac- cordance with the Excise regulations licence had been taken out, so that not a single penny was lost to the revenue of the country. The magistrates imposed a fine of is. and the court fees. There was considerable interest taken in the cases, for the Court was crowded throughout the hearing.

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THE VEGETABLE GARDEN.

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-'--WINTER FARM WORK.

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