Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reuben Ford charged with stealing at Marchington Station - 1873

The Uttoxeter (Staffordshire) magistrates have just committed for trial an extraordinary swindler. A fashionably dressed man, who gave the name of Reuben Ford, was charged with breaking into the Marchington station of the North Staffordshire Railway Company, and stealing therefrom certain property. The prisoner was further charged with a series of systematic frauds. When a young man, it would appear, the prisoner served with distinction in the Ist Battalion of the Fusiliers throughout the Crimea War and Indian Campaign, but after the Indian Mutiny, although raised to the position of a sergeant, claimed and obtained his discharge. He subsequently obtained some excellent testimonials, and succeeded in entering the Staffordshire police force at Stoke-on-Trent. He did not remain in that position for more than a year, when he was discharged for misconduct. Before many weeks had elapsed he was apprehended in Staffordshire for obtaining money under false pretences, but he was discharged. For a time nothing more was heard of him, though it had transpired he was wanted by the police for robbery on board H.M.S. Trafalgar, having absconded from that ship shortly afterwards. A week or so ago the prisoner turned up at the Royal Oak Inn, at Marchington where he produced telegraph forms, representing that he was a telegraph inspector on the North Stafford Railway. He had a railway lamp in his hand at the time, and his story was therefore taken for granted. A man in the employ of the company accompanied the man to Marchington station, and the latter was seen to rob the place. He then walked down the line to the next session, where he again introduced himself as a telegraph inspector. Subsequently he returned to Marchington and paid a visit to a farmer named Mr John Deaville. Presenting the following forged telegram, he pretended it to have been sent by Major Greig, Chief Constable of Liverpool “A gentleman from Australia is now lying dead at the Angel Hotel, Liverpool, and has left all his property to you, John Deaville, of Marchington which I will hand to you or yours on arrival. I have in my possession the sum of sixteen hundred and seventy nine pounds, six pounds weight of Australia gold, and a good deal of other valuable property. Please to answer by telegram.” He obtained 8s from Mr Deaville for the reply, and similar amounts from various other farmers in the neighbourhood. In the meantime a telegram was sent to Stoke, and it was ascertained the man was an impostor. Information was given to the police, who upon apprehending the fellow found in his possession, a forged telegram representing that the Duke of Sutherland wished to see a person named Needham at Trentham. The prisoner was ultimately committed for trial.

1 comment:

  1. ..obviously those "Nigerian scams" started a lot earlier than I thought! It would be interesting to know when the first one was used.