Crime on the Road. Thieving and Snide-Pinching
Thievery ‘on the road’ was an innovative way of making money. The gang took ferries
out of London all the way round to Newcastle, stopping at places on the way and
robbing the town centres and market places. They also ventured around Wales, to
Buxton and Manchester, but stayed away from Liverpool owing to its extremely competent
police force. They went to Manchester in a group of six and all stayed in one
room. From there they would go out in threes, one person to pickpocket and the
other two kept watch. This little scheme ended badly because a man named Jackie
Shinebohm robbed a mother and daughter in front of a shop. Whilst the act was
in itself unnoticeable, they saw his reflection in the window and he ended up
getting three months.
'Snide-pinching' was slang for counterfeiting coins. Shop keepers thought they
could tell a fake coin by the ring it made when you slammed it down on the counter,
but Arthur knew a forger who was so good that his coins produced an identical
ring to any normal coin.
In order to prevent carrying the coins across the country, his sister would package
them up and send them to wherever he was going. From there he would go into different
shops and change the coin for real currency. The person who visited the shop would
only have that particular coin on him and so could not be charged with knowingly
possessing fake money. .
Arthur's snide-pinching days ended very badly, and illustrated the futility of
criminal activity of this sort. He only escaped a long jail sentence by the skin
of his teeth. His friend Charlie got ten years. The reason was because a shop
keeper had given the police a description of two of the lads. They had then set
a trap along a country road where scores of policemen waited in the bushes. Arthur
was lucky in that he spotted the trap coming up and had thrown the coins away
and when the police sprung the attack they found nothing. Arthur said he didn't
know the two other boys because they had just hitched a lift. However, they eventually
found the counterfeited coins and Arthur's two friends were apprehended at Paddington
Station. The description given just so happened to be of the two men who were
in that particular shop at the time, but it could easily have been of Arthur.
He could easily have been the one getting ten years in jail.
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