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From the Sussex Express, 14th September 1867



THOMAS MARCH and RICARD FRENCH, labourers of Brighton, were charged with trespassing in search of conies, on lands in the occupation of Mr H P Hart, at [Cobbe Place] Beddingham, on the 1st inst. Defendants pleaded not guilty.

Solomon Freeman, gamekeeper to the Right Hon H Brand, MP, deposed that on the morning in question he went on Beddingham Hill about 4 o'clock with a man named Page, and there found about 30 wires set for rabbits, and five rabbits caught in them. Witness and Page then laid up, and watched them until about seven o'clock when the defendants came up, and began taking up the wires. They took up about eight or nine. Witness and his companion then showed themselves, upon which the defendants immediately ran away, but they caught them and searched them, and found upon them two wires and a lot of pegs. They said they had been mushrooming, and coming across the wires they took them up. Defendant's were on Mr Hart's land.

Freeman to March- I was about two hundred yards from you when you took the wires up; and I could see you do it. You had string, and a lot of pegs in your pocket.

James Page, helper to the last witness, stated that on the 1st inst he went up on the hill with the last witness about four o'clock in the morning. On the hill they found some wires set, and a rabbit was caught in them. They waited until seven o'clock, when defendants came up to the wires and French took up eight or nine.

Defendants, in defence, said they had come from Newhaven to Glynde, and when they went back again they went over the hill. The reason they ran away was because the prosecutor set a 'large black dog at them enough to frighten any man'.

The Chairman told the defendants they had been convicted on the clearest evidence, and the sentence of the court was that they pay £1 including costs, or in default 14 days' imprisonment.

After some hesitation the defendant French said he would 'pay this time, but never no more', and accordingly threw down a £5 note, and discharged his liabilities. March also paid the money after he had taken the matter into consideration for some little time.

Listed under the Topic: Crime

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