Opportunist thieves, disgraced perverts and crooked railway staff: Mugshots of notorious early 20th century transport criminals released
Chancers photographed after swiping unattended luggage, while organised felons used their connection to the railways to steal whisky supplies
British Transport Police have released dozens of mugshots of early 20th Century transport criminals, including a sorry array of opportunist thieves, disgraced military perverts and crooked railway staff.
Taken between the late Victorian period and 1920, the images are an enlightening snapshot of the hugely varied criminal classes that operated on Britain’s rapidly expanding railway network.
From John Moir, the lowly one-eyed goods checker fined for stealing tea, to career criminal Robert Lewis who was jailed with hard labour for the theft of parcels, the mugshots reveal the railways to be a place where all manner of crime flourished.
The majority of criminals appear to have been operating classic distraction robberies; using the chaos of a bustling railway station to swipe expensive luggage while the owner worried about mundane travel necessities like purchasing tickets and asking guards for directions.
Some, however, appear to have been members of organised gangs who targeted goods or postal trains for their expensive cargo, or low-paid railway employees who wrongly assumed that their privileged position put them beyond suspicion when the occasional item went missing.
The later certainly seems to have been the case with North British Railway employee Thomas Drummond, who was photographed wearing his elegant uniform before being jailed for 20 days over the theft of 12 bottles of whisky.
North British Railway employee Thomas Drummond was photographed wearing his elegant uniform before being jailed for 20 days over the theft of 12 bottles of whisky.
Other thieves include Mitchell Steadman-Turner, who was sentenced to six months in prison after stealing a Japanese basket from Waverley Station in Edinburgh in 1920, and the smartly dressed, fashionably bearded James Whilton – alias Charles Wharton – who stole a bag from London’s Paddington Station in 1887.
Servicemen, it appears, were not immune to the temptations of vice of railways either, with two of the mugshots showing men in military uniform.
Private Gordon Marr of the 16 Battalion Canadian Scottish Regiment was sentenced to 10 days in prison for theft of a box of fish in 1918, while disgraced RAF Lieutenant Jack Graham-Parker was convicted of indecent exposure at a railway station over a three-day spell in March 1920.
Private Gordon Marr of the 16 Battalion Canadian Scottish Regiment was sentenced to 10 days in prison for theft of a box of fish in 1918
Women are also seen among the mugshots, with Cumbria’s notorious travelling railway thief Margaret Leck seen wearing an extravagantly collared coat in a police photograph taken on Christmas Eve 1904. She had been arrested over the theft of a trunk in Edinburgh.
Cumbria’s notorious travelling railway thief Margaret Leck seen wearing an extravagantly collared coat in a police photograph taken on Christmas Eve 1904. She had been arrested over the theft of a trunk in Edinburgh.
Although the typical punishment for those arrested appears to have been a small fine or few days in prison, it seems some judges considered seemingly minor transport crimes to be far more serious than charges of organised theft.
Poor old Edward Meitchie, for example, was sentenced to a full three months with hard labour in prison for the relatively minor offence of loitering at Derby Station in 1922.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...