Flashback: Police close in on “midget” burglar, a drunken cyclist faces prison and a former mayor kicked off bus

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 February 2018

Flasback. Photo: Norman Gunby

Flasback. Photo: Norman Gunby


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

1958: Hopes of catching an alleged “midget” cat burglar were raised after he stole £3,000 in radio goods traceable by the police.

The culprit, believed to be short in stature, allegedly stole almost £1000 in cigarettes and tobacco from Ilford tobacconists by squeezing through impossibly small spaces.

In his most recent escapade the culprit targeted the Winter Trading Company, in Hampton Road.

This time burglar entered through the rear of the shop by silently removing bricks from the back wall of the building.

The “midget” crawled through the tiny hole and let in the rest of his gang who ransacked the shop of television sets and radios, among other equipment, bringing the total haul to nearly £5000.

Police monitored the sale electrical goods with great anticipation to try and trace them back to the incident.

1978: Magistrates threatened to enforce at 19th century law and send a man to prison for being drunk in charge of a bicycle.

Becontree resident John McMenamen, 51, admitted being drunk in charge of a bicycle at Eastern Avenue, Ilford.

Under an Act dating back 1872, he could have been jailed for a month or fined £10.

Magistrate Mr Hugh Vincent said: “We consider you were utterly irresponsible to put your life and the lives of others at risk and it is farcical to find you £10.”

“Therefore we are considering sending you to prison.”

The case was adjourned for a month for McMenamen to engage a solicitor to represent him and he was remanded on £100 bail.

1998: A former Redbridge mayor was fuming after being kicked off a bus for abusive behaviour.

Cllr Richard Hoskin asked the driver why the service was running an hour late and, in return, recieved a torrent of verbal abuse.

He said: “I was stunned I had been waiting nearly half an hour for a 179 bus at a High Road, South Woodford, stop.”

Cllr Hoskins demanded answers from the Dagenham-based bus operators Capital Citybus.

Joint managing director Leon Daniels said there had been problems in the service of the 179 route but they would be ironed out by the end of the month.

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