Extensive Damage at Washfield by Gipsies.
Joseph Orchard and Sophia Orchard, licensed hawkers, were summoned at Tiverton County Sessions, on Tuesday, for jointly and severally damaging property by breaking and uprooting certain ferns growing in Hatscleave Copse, Washfield, on October 26th. The defendants were also summoned for trespassing in pursuit of game on the same date and place.
Mr. A. Fisher, of Tiverton, prosecuted on behalf of Mrs. De Las Casas, of Worth House, and remarked that the value of the cover had this year been decreased by half. At present, more than an acre had been uprooted with the result that the pheasants were not nearly so plentiful.
Richard Luxon, keeper in the employ of Mrs. De Las Casas, stated that on the date of the alleged offence, he met the two defendants driving towards Hatscleave cover. Witness had his suspicions aroused, and he authorised the underkeeper to get some Police assistance.
About o'clock in the evening, a quantity of fern and a dead pheasant were brought to Worth House. The latter appeared to have been killed by a blow on the back. The next day witness examined the cover, and saw that considerable damage was done. The ferns to the quantity of about an acre had been uprooted. Other evidence shewed that defendant's trap was outside the copse for three hours. Over 100 bunches ferns were tied up in the copse.
Defendants were each fined £1 2s 6d inclusive.
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Western Times - Friday, 15th November 1907
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