May 1916

Let me introduce you to ‘Turk’.  Turk has been a proverbial pain in everyone’s backside for many years, due largely to the fact he is responsible for much of Brandon’s petty crime.  Turk is a vagabond, of “no fixed abode”, so the police usually move him on when they see him, but not before searching him to see if he has plundered anyone’s belongings.  Truth be told though, Turk is Brandon born and bred, and entered this world with the name of Charles Tilney.  His latest brush with the law saw him evicted from Mr Hyam’s haystack, where he had settled down for the night.  After refusing to move on quietly he hollered all the way along London Road as Inspector Mobbs marched him to the police station.  This was of course to the annoyance of those residents living along the route who had been sleeping at the time.  Consequently Turk, for the sixty-fourth time, found himself in front of less than sympathetic magistrates.  The town does have some respite now, following the magistrates’ decision to send Turk away – six months in prison with hard labour!  The magistrates then went on to consider cases against resident whose actions would not have been illegal just a couple of years ago…

Fred Mutum makes money from ‘carting stuff’ for people.  When their stuff is rubbish he might take it home and put it on a bonfire, which is what got Fred got in trouble this month.  You see, Fred threw six cartloads of rubbish onto a bonfire then proceeded to leave it unattended … just as it was getting dark.  The burning bonfire could have provided a fantastic landmark for any passing Zeppelin that night and so Fred fell foul of the blackout laws.  Poor Fred was absolutely mortified when the police alerted him to the fire, so he promptly put it out.  However it was too late and he was summoned to appear before the magistrates.  They did take a lenient view of his error though and fined him only six shillings.

Then another Fred fell foul of the same blackout law.  This time Frederick Woodrow, the ironmonger, had not adequately pulled down his blinds to prevent light escaping from his Bury Road home one evening.  The police, while patrolling the town, saw the light and summoned Fred to appear before the magistrates.  This time the magistrates felt the business owner should have been setting a proper example, so they fined him £1.

Then there is the tale of Ernest Bullock, of 77 Thetford Road.  He did not appear in court, although he did show more than a little light one night and almost lost everything through it.  His children do not like the dark so he puts them to bed with a candle burning nearby.  This time the candle was a little too close to the bedroom curtains, which soon became engulfed in flames.  Just imagine the amount of light showing through those windows!  A runner was immediately sent down to the High Street to raise the alarm and call out the volunteers of the Brandon Fire Brigade.  Beating them to the scene were some soldiers who reacted very quickly and put out the fire before it spread, so despite the Fire Brigade arriving within minutes they were not needed.  The family very much regretted the errors of their ways, much like those in front of the magistrates this month.