Pickpockets at the Tring Agricultural Show in 1897




P.C. Waller, stationed at Kings Langley, was presumably Charles Waller (born Ware, Herts, c 1858) who was living at Cupid Green, Hemel Hempstead in 1891, and 25 Arthur Road, St Peter Rural, in 1901

P.C. Sullivan was presumably the Police Sergeant James Sullivan (born Leith, Ireland, c1864) who was living in Watford Police Station in 1901.

P.C. Hull not identified.



An elderly man who gave the name of John Edwards, but who refused his address, was charged on remand with attempting to commit a felony at Tring Show by picking pockets. — P.C. Waller, stationed at King’s Langley, said he was on duty on Thursday, the day of the Tring Agricultural Show, near the grand stand. He was carrying an overcoat on his left arm. He placed his hands in ladies’ pockets, and one lady was attracted, and when he saw her looking he turned his attention suddenly away from her. He also worked with his right hand putting the stick over to his left hand. Another lady then turned round. He watched him about half-an-hour. The prisoner did not get anything, as was afterwards found out. He called P.C. Hull to watch while he fetched a plain clothes man. — P.C. Hull, of the Bucks Police, said his attention was called to the action of the defendant about three p.m. He was on duty near the big ring. Defendant kept putting his hands between ladies and gentlemen in a suspicious manner. He saw him near one lady, who, on being questioned, said she had lost 2s. 8d.

P.C. Sullivan, of Watford, a plain clothes officer, said his attention was called to the defendant just after three o’clock, who was acting in a suspicious manner. He watched him for half-an-hour, after which the defendant hurriedly left the park and went in the direction of Tring Station. He stopped him, and on asking him where he had come from he said, “I’ve done nothing.” Later he said he had come from London. He would not give any address, saying he had no fixed residence. He then took him to the police-station at Tring. On being searched he was found to possess 12s. 9½d. He had a refreshment but no railway ticket.

Mrs Fantham said that she lost 2s. 8d. on the day of the show. She was close to the place described at the time, but did not see the defendant.

The prisoner acknowledged that he was guilty, and was thereupon sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, with such hard labour as he could undergo.

Herts Advertiser, August 14, 1897


Mrs Fantham, whose purse was stolen, was most likely Sarah Fantham (born Buckland, Bucks. c1849), of 3 New Road, Northchurch., whose husband John (born Marsworth, Bucks. c1847) was a boatman on the Grand Junction Canal.

To identify "John Edwards" will need more research relating to the court case, but the name given may have been an alias.

September 2012   Page Created