James Bennion, a potter, and the youngest son of John Bennion and Mary Child, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour after being found guilty of stealing four fowls from a cote in Burslem, Staffordshire.
The police had traced a trail of feathers from the cote to the house of John Bennion. And when James saw the police he ran off but was captured by Constable Cope who found feathers in his pockets.
The police also searched his brother-in-laws house, where John was running to at the time of his capture. There they found two fowls concealed under the bedclothes and two others stuck up the chimney. William Bloor denied all knowledge of the fowls exclaiming “Oh dear, dear that’s Jim”.
Whilst John Bennion and William Bloor were also arrested and tried they were given the benefit of the doubt and discharged by the magistrate.
In the 1861 Census records James is recorded as an inmate in the District County Prison at Stafford (RG6; Piece 1907; Folio 143; Page 8; GSU roll: 542885)
A full report of the incident can be found in the Staffordshire Advertiser, Saturday 2 March 1861.