A Tireless Detective

It would appear that, when the detectives of the Victorian Metropolitan Police went on short breaks, they found it all but impossible to switch off completely.

Indeed, if the following story, which appeared in The Illustrated Police News on Saturday the 5th of August 1899, is anything to go by, a day’s excursion to the seaside was still viewed by the police officers of the day, as an opportunity to indulge in a little thief taking, should the opportunity to do so happen to arise!


At Worship Street, John M’Carthy, alias Jack Bond, a tall, fair young man, with a long curled moustache, whose white flannel trousers, sand shoes, and blue jacket gave him quite a breezy air in the dock, was charged with being with others in violently assaulting Police Constable Mitchell, on the night of Saturday last in Dorset Street. Spitalfields.

The constable was badly bruised and knocked about by six or seven men, only one of whom was arrested, and was before the court on Monday.

The present prisoner was taken on a warrant, the constable having given a description of him, and the prisoner, it was said, being well known.


Detective Smart deposed that he was in Yarmouth on Tuesday, with the police excursion of his, division.

On the sands, he saw the prisoner, who, observing him, got away, but the witness got near him under the pier and said, “Jack, there is a warrant for you in London.”

The Prisoner asked, “In what name”, and the witness told him that it was in the name of Jack Bond, and that he had better go with him to Yarmouth Police Station.


Mr. Margetts (for the prisoner):- “You were out for a day’s pleasure?”

Mr. Dicjinson:- “A policeman is never off duty. It would not do.”

Mr. Margetts:- “No, sir; we know that a policeman’s lot is not a happy one. He takes even his pleasures sadly.”


Detective Smart added that he knew the prisoner well, and that the prisoner knew him also.

Mr. Margetts:- “You have been friendly together?

Mr. Dickinson:- “There is no friendship in business, it is said.”


The Officer:- “He’s a pickpocket; I know nothing else of him.”

Mr. Margetts: “But he was only taking the air at Yarmouth, that is not a felony.”

The prisoner was remanded.