Cheapside, Luton with Post Office on left, c.1905
Wednesday 10th November 1915: Post Office cleaner Charles Johnson of Tennyson Road has appeared at the Luton Borough Sessions where he was accused of stealing a letter containing three ten shilling notes and three stamps. Following complaints Mr. Hill of the Post Office Investigation Department had been sent to Luton to keep watch. On 4th November he made up a postal packet containing the notes and stamps, addressed it to Mrs Edwards at Lilley and posted it at 12.35pm in the letter box near the counter at the General Post Office. Frederick William Smith, a sorting clerk and telegraphist, was also observing Johnson. At 12.55 he saw him go to the stamping table holding a duster and examine the letters lying there. He picked them over, felt them, then took something from the table and put it in his pocket. Johnson then turned to the sorting table and put something under his apron. As a cleaner he had no right to touch any letters. As instructed Mr Smith went to the letter box and searched for the letter addressed to Mrs Edwards but could not find it.
A detective from the Metropolitan Police was also on watch. He saw Johnson wrap a number of letters in a piece of newspaper. He called him to the Postmaster’s Room where Mr. Hill cautioned him. He denied knowing anything about the missing letter and agreed to turn out his pockets. The detective found a ten shilling note in his trouser pocket and twelve unopened letters in his apron. When Johnson’s home was searched £23 in gold, £4 in silver and twelve ten shilling notes were found in a locked box under the bed. The hearing ended with Johnson committed for trial at the Beds Assizes. As these will not be held for two months he was allowed bail.