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NEWENT. )

HEREFORD MARKET.I

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1914.…

LOCAL NEWS. I

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LEDBURY PARISH CHURCH. I

BISHOP FROOME.

IMUCH MARCLE CARPENTER'S LAPSE.

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MUCH MARCLE CARPENTER'S LAPSE. Lost Property Detained. On Saturday morning last at Ledbury Police Court, before Mr Spencer H Bickham (in the chair) and Dr. Miles A Wood, William Ratcliffe, carpenter, who for the past six months has been working as a carpenter at Much Marcle, was brought up in custody on a charge of stealing a threshing machine beic, value £ 5, the property- of Leonard Powell, farmer, of Wolton, Muck Marcle, on January 20. Prisoner should have appeared at the Petty Sessions on the previous Wednesday to answer the charge, but as he failed to attend a warrant was issued for his arrest, which was executed at Alfrick, Worcester, on Thursday. Mr Langley Smith, jun., of Gloucsster, was for the defence. Daniel Fortey, general labourer in the employ of the prosecutor, said on January 20 he was working at Wolton with Mr Powell's threshing machine, which they moved from Wolton to Noggin, about 1* miles away. Witness loaded the things up, and placed the driving belt on the riddles of the threshing machine. When he got to the Noggin with the threshing machine he missed the driving belt, and although he and others searched for it they could not find it. The belt (produced) was rolled up but not tied, and he identified the belt produced as belonging. to Mr Powell. Cross-examined by Mr Langley Smith There was no name on the belt, and he identified it by a scratch and waxend stitches. Prisoner had never worked for Mr Powell. Leonard Powell, farmer, of Chandos, Much said the value of the belt was j35. He made inquiries the same night as the bolt was lost, calling at prisoner's lodgings. He saw prisoner's landlady. Cross-examined by Mr Langley Smith He did not know prisoner, who had never worked for him, or seen the belt before to his know- ledge. Supt. Williams said bills were printed and circulated in Marcle notifying the loss of the belt, offering a reward, and stating that anyone found detaining the belt would be prosecuted., On February 6 he went to Much Marcle and in. company with P.C. Hayward he made inquiries in the district. He went and saw prisoner Ratcliffe at his work on Marcle Hill. He explained to prisoner who he was and what his business was, and asked prisoner if he knew anything about the driving belt, and prisoner said he knew nothing about it. Prisoner admitted he had seen one of the reward bills- with reference to the belt, but again repeated, that he knew nothing about it. Witness told, him he was of opinion that he knew something about it, but he still denied all knowledge of it. He then told prisoner there was nothing for him- to do but to lock him up on suspicion of stealing the belt. Prisoner then said, "Well, I have got one that I don't want." He accompanied prisoner to his lodgings and found the belt at the bottom of a tin box, which prisoner unlocked. A lot of wearing apparel was on top of the belt. Witness took possession of the belt. He did not arrest prisoner, as he thought it was a case for a summons. Cross-examined by Mr Langley Smith Notices were issued about a week after the belt was lost, notifying the reward. P.C. Hayward, of Much Marcle, corroborated the evidence of Supt. Williams as to what took place on February 6. He served a summons om prisoner on February 7 by leaving it with his landlady, and subsequently arrested him on a warrant on February 12. He read the charge over to him, and he made no reply. He brought prisoner to Ledbury on Friday and in the train prisoner said he hoped witness would not say more than he could help. Cross-examined by Mr Langley Smith He knew prisoner had left his address at Alfriek with his landlady at Much Marcle. At Alfrick prisoner was engaged in threshing for a farmer there when he arrested him. Prisoner was then charged and pleaded not guilty. After a consultation with his solicitor, however, prisoner withdrew the plea of not guilty and pleaded guilty. Mr Langley Smith then addressed the Bench on behalf of the prisoner, and explained that it was his first offence. Prisoner picked up the belt on the day it was lost between 1 and 1.15 p.m. The belt was placed in the harness-room at his lodgings until the notice of the loss was issued, when prisoner stupidly took it from the harness-room, wrapped it in paper and placed it in the bottom of his box. He pointed out that there was nothing on the belt to show who the owner was, and when the bills were issued prisoner was afraid that the fact that he had had the belt in his possession for a week would go againat him. He asked the Bench to bind the man over. Henry Weston, farmer, of The Bounds, Much Marcle, said defendant had been employed by him for about six months as a carpenter, and he had found him thoroughly honest and trust- worthy, and a very tidy man. From his experience of the man he would certainly trust him. Prisoner was admonished by the Bench, and bound him over to come up for judgment if called upon within six months. He would have to pay the costs, JB2 19s 6d, which were much larger than they would have been if he had surrendered on Wednesday last.

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I SOUTH HEREFORDSHIRE.