Flashback: a “midget” burglar strikes again, a teenager breaks both arms and a family dispute over barmitzvah money

Flashback. Photo: Norman Gunby

Flashback. Photo: Norman Gunby - Credit: Archant

A look back at the biggest stories of the week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1958: An alleged “midget” cat burglar struck in Ilford for the third time in three weeks, increasing his total haul to nearly £1000.

The culprit, apparently short in stature, was thought to be the brains behind a gang of cigarette theives who targeted Ilford tobacconists.

On this occasion, the gang climbed onto the roof of Mr H E Chapman’s shop on 322 Ilford Lane and smashed a hole in the ceiling 12 inches in diameter.

The theif squeezed through the hole and rappelled into the shop using a rope fastened to the concrete parapet.


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He then smashed in the back door, although the key hung on a hook closeby, letting in his accomplices to assist in relieving the shop of it’s stock.

1978: An accident prone Ilford teenager broke both of his arms, in two separate slip-ups, in the space of a month.

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Nicholas Burridge, 13, broke his right arm on Boxing Day after an unfortunately fall on his skateboard.

Upon returning to school a couple of weeks later, he slipped on ice and broke his left arm.

His spell of bad spills was strangley familiar as he broke his right arm when he was a baby and his left arm when he slipped on ice at age 11.

“They day before the latest accident he fell down the stairs,” said his mother, Ivy.

“He did not want to go to school but I made him.

“Now I wish I had let him stay in bed.”

1998: A 17-year-old schoolboy threatened to sue his father for the return of cash given in presents on his barmitzvah.

Chigwell school pupil Benjamin Solomon’s was granted legal aid for the unusual move, which has come about after his parents Jack and Brenda separated.

Speaking exclusively to the Recorder, his father Jack said: “I am a very upset and distraught father who has given his children the world. I don’t want to go to court but he won’t talk to me.”

At the time, he said he paid back approximately £6,500 of the £9,000 it is believed the barmitzvah money totalled.

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