Bailed riot accused in court for theft

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, September 30th, 1919]

George Albert Goodship, 42, fitter, of 129 Highbury Road – one of the riot prisoners committed for trial at the Assizes and admitted on bail – was brought before Mr A. B. Attwood at Luton Police Station on Thursday, charged with the theft of a piece of wood valued at two shillings, the property of his employers Messrs B. Laporte Ltd.

It appeared that just after three o'clock in the morning Goodship was seen carrying a piece of wood under his arm in Leagrave Road, and Pc Biley stopped him and asked where he had got it from. Accused's reply was that he was working at Laporte's and had got the wood from there.

The constable observed that it was rather funny to be taking a piece of wood of that size home at that time in the morning and accused replied: “Yes, I know you have your duty to do.” He was taken into custody and on the way to the police station he asked that his name and address might be taken so that he could go home and have a wash. This request was not acceded to.

Mr Sutherland, works manager at Messrs Laporte, indicated that he did not wish to press the case, but the Chief Constable said it must go on. The matter had been placed in the hands of the police and Mr Sutherland had himself said they had suffered a great deal of loss recently through this kind of thing.

Accused was remanded in custody until Saturday, but the Chief Constable offered no objection to bail being granted.

At Saturday's court, Goodship said he did not take the wood with the intention of stealing as three or four months back be bought about £10 worth of wood, and there was plenty of it in his yard now. There had been a lot of pilfering of tools at the works, and as he lost about £10 worth in three months he wanted to make a box for the protection of the tools.

He had enough wood of the kind required for the top and bottom, and he had already spoken to the engineer about having a box. The engineer said there was no doubt he could have a piece of wood, and he took it with the intention of making a box during the weekend, and taking it back to the works.

Mr Edwin Oakley said the Bench could not give credence to this story, and defendant was fined 40 shillings.

The Chief Constable pointed out that defendant was also liable for breaking his bond to be of good behaviour until after the Assizes, but said he did not wish to press the point.