AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1759.

A PICKPOCKET was sentenced to transportation after he was caught stealing in a Hereford courtroom in 1759.

John Weaver, who had been caught picking the pockets of gentlemen at Hereford Assizes in March that year while the judge was sitting, was ordered for transportation after he was found with a 'great number' of gloves and handkerchiefs belonging to others in the courtroom.

But his was far from the most brutal sentence handed out during that session, with a number of hefty sentences handed out while the court was sitting.

William Jones appeared before the Hereford Assizes on a charge of sacrilege.

The court heard Jones had robbed the historic parish church of St Dubricius in Hentland, south Herefordshire, which dates back to the 13th century.

Jones was found guilty of the offence and received the death sentence, which was carried out in April that year.


Two other defendants were handed the death sentence at the same assizes. Thomas Veal was sentenced to death for sheep stealing and Ann Prosser for house-breaking, but both were reprieved.

Three others were found guilty of 'diverse felonies'. John Hackford, James Davis, and James Wellington were ordered to be transported for seven years, while another James Davis, who had been condemned five years earlier, was ordered to be transported for live.

A further defendant was ordered to be whipped, and 12 were acquitted.