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Theft by a member of the GWR Railway Staff

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GenealogyJude

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I recently wrote an article about my great grandfather who was sentenced to a month in prison with hard labour in May 1888 for stealing a new pair of boots:
At the time he was working for the GWR at Tetbury Road Station, on the Swindon to Cheltenham line. He was sentenced at Cirencester Petty Sessions and served his time in Gloucester Prison. I found a really informative newspaper account that gives an insight into the attitudes of railway companies to theft: "The Chairman said the Railway Company must be protected, as the goods of the public were absolutely at the mercy of the railway servants. Morally, it was no greater offence than stealing from anyone else, but the Bench had to consider prisoner’s position". The Company would also be liable to recompense any losses. I understand that at the time, it was customary for employees to pay for their own uniform and boots, the cost being deducted from their wages. Interestingly, in his employment records, it is just noted that my ancestor "Left Service", so it was not recorded that he was dismissed. My ancestor managed to work again for GWR a few years later, so presumably, his past was kept secret. He also worked for another railway company subsequently and had a long respectable career as a manager for the Wantage Tramway.
 
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exbrel

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24 Aug 2018
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I recently wrote an article about my great grandfather who was sentenced to a month in prison with hard labour in May 1888 for stealing a new pair of boots:
At the time he was working for the GWR at Tetbury Road Station, on the Swindon to Cheltenham line. He was sentenced at Cirencester Petty Sessions and served his time in Gloucester Prison. I found a really informative newspaper account that gives an insight into the attitudes of railway companies to theft: "The Chairman said the Railway Company must be protected, as the goods of the public were absolutely at the mercy of the railway servants. Morally, it was no greater offence than stealing from anyone else, but the Bench had to consider prisoner’s position". The Company would also be liable to recompense any losses. I understand that at the time, it was customary for employees to pay for their own uniform and boots, the cost being deducted from their wages. Interestingly, in his employment records, it is just noted that my ancestor "Left Service", so it was not recorded that he was dismissed. My ancestor managed to work again for GWR a few years later, so presumably, his past was kept secret. He also worked for another railway company subsequently and had a long respectable career as a manager for the Wantage Tramway.
When i worked at BREL Crewe, there was a young chap convicted of attempted murder, his wife and a "friend" were meeting while he was doing nights, and he went to prison for a number of years, released early for good behavior. He was able to go back to his own job, but if someone was found guilty of theft that was it, they were sacked... rumour was there was someone who checked local papers and court lists for theft/stealing cases involving staff members...
 

Gloster

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Up the creek
When I worked for BR in the eighties any form of theft, particularly of passengers’ money or possessions, was regarded far more seriously than outside the railway (at least in the sense of the severity of sanctions compared to those for other offences). I know of one employee who had his probationary period terminated for failing to hand in some money he had found when sweeping through a carriage.
 

Titfield

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I worked for a well known coach company in the late 70s and early 80s and like BR any form of theft was a very serious matter indeed.

The basis for this was that passengers placed their trust in the company and thus the company had its reputation to protect.

Passengers luggage and possessions were considered to be very valuable and thus lost property was taken very seriously indeed. IIRC there were regulations dating back to the 1930s which had to be complied with to ensure the safety of passengers property as much as possible.
 

MP33

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19 Jun 2011
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When I worked in the Civil Service, I worked for a senior officer who had chaired hearings. He said that some serious offences were not a bar to future employment if not work related. He quoted an example of someone convicted of murder resulting from a dispute about an arranged marriage.
 
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