Sunday, 3 December 2017

Misdemeanours on the Railway

Leighton Buzzard Station c.1915 [Z1306/74/1/4]

Monday 3rd December 1917: Two cases relating to the railway were heard at Leighton Buzzard police court today. In the first Henry Maze Jenks of Haverstock Hill in London pleaded guilty to travelling in a luggage van on the London and North Western Railway, contravening the Company’s bye-laws. Mr. Jenks travelled by the 4.15 train from Wolverhampton to Euston on 12th September. Between Northampton and Leighton Buzzard he was found first in the guard’s van at the front of the train, and later in the van at the rear; the communicating doors between the carriages had all been unlocked and left open. Mr. Maze was said to have caused a “good deal of trouble”, claiming to be a friend of the Chairman of the line and telling staff he would do as he liked. It was pointed out that this sort of behaviour put the safety of the train at risk, as there was a valve in the guard’s van which would automatically divide the train if it was touched when approaching a signal. In Mr. Maze’s defence his solicitor stated his client was a large manufacturer and a season ticket holder, and like many other people at this time was overworked. When he got into the train he was extremely tired and as all the carriages were very crowded he went through into the guard’s van to have a sleep – the matter should be seen as merely a technical offence. The Chairman of the Bench told Mr. Maze he should have left the van when he was told to do so and that interfering with railway employees was a serious matter. He was fined £2 with £2 5s costs.

In the second case two local boys, William Cornish, aged 17 of 1 Albany Road, and Harry Stroud, aged 16 of 3 Billington Road, pleaded guilty to trespassing on the railway platforms at Leighton Buzzard and refusing to leave when asked to do so. Frank Buckingham, a vanman at Leighton Buzzard Station, said that he had found the two boys and another lad named Rickets on the station without tickets at 6.45 on November 20th. He told them they were trespassing but they did not leave. Ten minutes later a railway detective took their names and told them they would be reported. One of the boys said he was not doing any harm and there were plenty of others there. The Court was told that gangs of youths had been a “continual source of annoyance” to the Stationmaster for the past year, hanging around on the platforms pretending to wait for munition trains from Luton and refusing to leave. The two boys were fined six shillings each, and warned that in future offences of this type would be severely dealt with.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 11th December 1917

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