Putting the ‘petty’ in petty sessions

Ossett Observer
Saturday 1 April 1876

A CAUTION TO DANDELION GATHERERS

[At the West Riding Court, Wakefield, on 27th March before W H Leatham Esq, R B Mackie Esq, and Dr Holdsworth], Charles Haigh was charged with committing damage to grass to the value of 10s., the property of Edward Barrett, at Stanley on the 21st ult. Complainant is the owner of a close of land at Potovens, and on the previous Monday he found the defendant who is an elderly man and a seller of watercress and dandelion roots, sitting there. He was cutting the leaves from dandelion roots, and had a spade with him. On looking round, Mr Barrett found he had cut the swaithe in about a hundred places in getting roots, of which he had about a quarter of a sack-full by his side. When spoken to he said he had only taken two or three roots from a pit hill in the field, which Mr Barrett said was nonsense, as there were none get. He also became abusive. Defendant said in defence that he felt in pain and went into the field to sit down a little while, and that he had been unable to do a day’s work for fifteen years, having both hands crippled. The complainant said if defendant had expressed his regret he should not have summoned him, he only wanted to warn others, and did not wish to press the case. Defendant was fined 1s. and 9s. costs, the fine to be remitted if the costs were paid within a fortnight.