|Z1306/10/33/67, Advertising postcard for Dudeney & Johnson Ltd, 1911 (Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service)|
Tuesday 13th February 1917: At the Bedford Borough Sessions, four Bedford boys were charged with breaking into a warehouse at the rear of 33 High Street and stealing 3s worth of cocoa, jellies, sugar, matches and candles belonging to Dudeney and Johnstone Ltd (confectioners, wine house and caterers).
A gentleman who worked for Messrs. Higgins saw the boys leaving the warehouse. He stopped the boys, took the goods from them and reported to the police station. Both mothers were summoned, who confirmed that their husbands were soldiers serving at the front. One mother testified that the eldest boy, aged 14, worked to help the family income and handed over 7s of his 10s pay every week. It was agreed that birching was a suitable form of punishment for the boys, who were inclined to get into mischief when together. The chairman of the sessions reminded the mothers of their additional responsibility in their husbands’ absence. He told the boys that they would not get off so ‘lightly’ in the future and that even if the policemen did not always see their wrongdoing, they were being watched by a policeman ‘up above’.