Flashback: A daredevil thief, the Ilford Magical Society and a Cornish pasty nightmare

A Cornish pasty. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Cornish pasty. Photo: Wikimedia Commons - Credit: Archant

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

1957: A daredevil thief who dangled 30ft above a railway line to raid a shop must have been left red-faced when he put his life in danger just to make off with £300 worth of lighters and cigarettes.

The ambitious raid was carried out during the early hours of Friday morning at Lewis’s, a tobacconists built on the bridge over Seven Kings railway station.

At the rear of the shop stood a bare brick wall, which the gang of thieves decided to knock down to gain entry.

The group must have helped hold one of their number over the roof so he could use a pickaxe or other instrument to cave the wall in, before they ransacked the place.


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Curiously, one of the gang then swept all the debris and broken glass into one corner of the shop before leaving.

1977: Ilford Magical Society labelled their omittance from the Redbridge Arts Council “a piece of bureaucratic nonsense” after it emerged that not enough of their members still lived in the borough to qualify for automatic membership.

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Society secretary John Penrose admitted that many of the original members had moved away because of their work, but insisted the society’s local roots meant it should still be considered a Redbridge-based organisation.

An Arts Council spokesman stressed that half of an organisation’s membership needed to live in the borough to qualify to join, but said that exceptions could be made if the society gave good enough reasons to do so.

1997:A shocked mother slammed supermarket giant Tesco’s safety checks after her daughter nearly swallowed a sharp piece of metal that had found its way into one of its home brand Cornish pasties.

Angela Day, of Rushton Gardens, Clayhall, brought the snacks from the store in Cranbrook Road, Barkingside, and returned home, where she was asked by her 11-year-old daughter if she could have one.

Upon taking a bite she immediately spat out a large piece of metal onto her plate.

Tesco apologised for the incident and launched an investigation into how it came about.

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