George Bridger Shiffner (The Yorkshire Magistrate)
G.B on the left. His Son "Edward "on the right
JULY 1923
Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 7

Street Betting at Denaby

Greengrocer Heavily Fined

“A Put-up Job ”


A smart fine was inflicted by the Doncaster West Riding magistrates on Tuesday, on Albert Sagar, a Conisborough bookmaker, who was charged with street betting at Denaby on June 20.


P.c. Easton said that at 10.30 on Wednesday morning, June 20, he and Sergt. Elliott concealed themselves in Doncaster road, New Conisborough, and kept observation on defendant´s premises, which consisted of a small greengrocer´s shop, about 70 yards distant.

About 10.50 defendant came out of his shop and took up a position on the footpath in front of his window. At 11 o´clock a girl, who had been reading a sporting paper went up to him and gave defendant something after which he entered something in a pocket book. About 11.5 a man went up to him and gave him a slip of paper and something else, which he took out of his trouser pocket.

Defendant retained them in his hands and went into the shop. Just then a policeman in uniform came along the street, and defendant did not come out of the shop again till 11.50, when he resumed his old position in front of the window. From noon to one o´clock 19 men and 3 women went to him. At 12.20 a man went to him and gave him a sporting paper and something else, which appeared to be a coin.

The miners commenced to come home from work, and witness did not see the defendant in the street again. He left his place of concealment about 1.20, and at 1.40 they went to the defendant, who was in his shop. As they went in a miner, who had preceded them went hurriedly out without making a purchase. Defendant was examining a sporting paper with a pencil in one hand. When told he would be reported for street betting he replied “What Me? You can search me now”. As they left the shop, defendant called out, “Half a minute. Don´t report me. Give us a chance”. A few minutes later he called to the sergeant ” I hope you´ll not report me. I am giving this job up now. I´m skint”.


George Precious said he was in defendant´s shop on the morning in question and defendant did not leave the shop at all. No betting transactions took place. Wm. Danford, miner, Denaby, said that on June 20 he went to defendant´s shop twice during the morning. The second time he stayed there three-quarters of an hour, the defendant did not leave the shop. There was no betting and racing was not talked about. Defendant would not have a sporting paper in the shop.


Answering Inspector Hodgson, witness said he knew the defendant had taken bets years ago, but he told witness two years ago that he would never take another bet.


Mr. L. H. Brittain (Rotherham), defending, submitted that it was a very unsatisfactory case. He suggested that it was a “put-up job”, and that there was a very grave doubt. He asked that the case should be dismissed.


Inspector Hodgson said there were 18 previous convictions, including fines of £3 and £10 in 1919 for street betting.


The chairman (Mr. G. B. Shiffner) said the defendant had a very bad record, he was fined £10 the last time. He would be fined £15 this time.
Below are some local newspaper articles, reporting on some of the cases that G.B had to deal with.
JULY 1919
Persistent Cruelty

At Doncaster, on Tuesday, James Clarke, miner, Denaby, was charged with persisting cruelty to his wife Ellen Clarke. The parties were married on July 10, 1915, at Thrybergh, and have one child. They lived at Whinney Hill, and afterwards at Denaby.

Complainant said that her husband had thrashedher repeatedly within the last 12 months, and had not attended to his work. On the Monday that the miners came out on strike, he struck her with a poker, and gave her a black eye. He also stood on her face, and he on one occasion threw abucket of water over her as she lay in bed.

He worked at Cadeby pit, and earned 16 shillings a day, but he gambled his money away, and would rather put a shilling on a horse than buy a loaf of bread.

Margaret Prendergast, defendant´s stepdaughter, stated that she had seen defendant thrash her mother persistently during the last three months. He had pulled pictures off the wall and jumped on them. He had also stopped out all night and not come on until six in the morning. He had thrashed her, and she had seen him throw a bucket of water over her and the baby. The water was in a “slack” bucket.

Defendant said it was not dirty water; it was clean, and the bucket was only about three quarters full.

Inspector Lloyd (N.S.P.C.C.), stated that on the morning of the 11th Mrs Clark called on him. She was bruised and he advised herto see the magistrates clerk. Previous to thishe hadseen defendant sitting on a stool at the bottom of the street whenhe oughtto be at work, and asked why he was not at work, defendant said he was not going to work for a – thing like his wife, and he would work when liked.

Defended offered to pay 25 shillings a week for the wife and child, and said he only earned 10/6 a day.

The chairman (Mr G.B.Shiffner): Don’t play with me, because we won’t have it. How much do you earn?

Defendant admitted he earned 15/6 a day, and the magistrates made an order for him to pay 30 shillings a week towards the maintenance of his wife and child
JULY 1923
Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 07

Cruelty to a Horse

Denaby Greengrocer Fierce Attack

A Smart Fine


The Doncaster magistrates inflicted smart punishment on Tuesday in a case where a Denaby greengrocer was charged with cruelty to a horse. The defendant was Wm. C. Clark, of Denaby Main.


The police officer stated that he was on duty in Doncaster road, Denaby Main, when he saw the accused driving a light chestnut horse attached to a dray. He was thrashing the animal with a steel whipstock. He stopped him and examined the horse, finding its body covered all over with weals from the use of the whipstock.

The animal was very exhausted and had difficulty in standing. When told he would be charged with cruelty, defendant replied. “I have to be cruel to be kind. I only bought it this morning, and it´s been `jibbing´”. As far as he could see there was absolutely no reason for the cruelty.


Mr. Frank Ogley, J. P. of Conisborough, said he was driving his car through Denaby on the day in question, and saw the defendant thrashing the horse. He met the constable, and they went to defendant and stopped him. Examining the horse, they found large weals on its body. Defendant had been thrashing it on both sides of the body and on the head. Witness thought he had had too much to drink.


Defendant admitted thrashing the horse, but denied that he struck it on the head. He had bought four animals, and that one was the only one which turned awkward. He knew he had struck it, but since thrashing it, he added, there was “not a nicer little thing” to put in a dray.


The chairman (Mr. G. B. Shiffner) said he thought the defendant had behaved very cruelly. There was too much of that cruelty going on, and the Bench were very grateful to Mr. Ogley. He wished other people would interfere in the same way, but he was afraid they did not.

Defendant would be fined £4.
MAY 1920
The Mexborough Times, Saturday, May 22, 1920.

Conisboro´ Miner´s Serious Assault
Braithwell, “Specials” Broken Nose

On Tuesday, at the Doncaster Police Court, Charles W.Reed, miner, Conisboro´, was sent to prison for two months, the maximum punishment, for an assault upon a special constable, Arthur Fidler, farmer, Bracewell on May 8.

The prosecutor appeared in court with his face heavily bandaged. Itshould be explained that he was suffering from a broken nose ss a result of the treatment meted out by the prisoner and another man not in custody.

He told magistrates at about 10.20 on the night of the date in question he was returning home after seeing the horses into the field, when he saw two men coming down the road on cycles. It was a dark night, and as they had no lights he called out to them. One of them replied that they were behind the – bikes.

He walked on, but the men suddenly turned back, and one asked to what he had to do with their lights. He told them he was a special constable, and they then swore at him. Reed followed this up by striking him twice in the face. He fell down, and was somewhat dazed, and he asked them if they had not done enough. One of those said they would kill him, and while he was trying to get up one of them kicked him in the face, breaking his nose. He called for help. He did not know what he was doing for a time, but he remembered ex-Sgt Roe coming up, and he complained to him. Mr Roe lifted him up, and then the prisoner, whom the sergeant had pushed away, came round and struck him in the face again. He had never seen the men before in his life.

Ex-sergeant Roe said his attention was attracted by hearing cries for help. He identified prisoner by his voice. When he got up to him Fidler said “see what they had done to me.” and fell forward into his arms, being partly unconscious. His face was covered with blood. He told him what had happened. Reed struck prosecutor after he got there. Witness got Fidler away eventually in the dark. The prosecutor produced the coat he was wearing at the time. It was covered in blood. In defence, the prisoner said he had had 9 pints of beer on this night, but he was not drunk. The prosecutor called out to them about their lights, and caught hold of his (prisoner´s) machine. He denied striking him, and said no one struck him. He must have received his injuries by falling down against the wall.

The chairman (Mr G.R. Shiffner), said prisoner had a most appalling record, one of the worst he had ever seen. The police must be protected – the prosecutor belonged to the regular special force.

Defendant would have to go to prison for two months, with hard Labour, and he was sorry that that was the maximum sentence they could pass upon him.
AUGUST 1919
Mexborough Times, August 9

Boy Burglars

Amazing Denaby Exploits

An amazing story of three Denaby boys depredations was a told at the Doncaster West riding juvenile court, on Wednesday, before Mr G.B. Shiffner, presiding, when charges of shop breaking were preferred against one boy of 13, another of 11, and a third 10 years.

The first charge related to break into the shop of Percy Wortley Watson, grocer, and stealing money, biscuits and chocolates etc

Mr Watsonleft thepremises all right on July 28. The next morning he found an entrance had been effected by a back window which had been removed. He missed 13 shillings or 14 shillings from the till, a pound of biscuits and some chocolates.

PC Raper said at 4.30 on the morning of the 29 th ult. he saw the smallest boy in Doncaster Road in the custody of a nightwatchman. He questioned him, and not be satisfied he took him back to New Conisbroughwhere heexamined the shops. He found the Don Valley stores have been broken open and the boy then admittedthat some of the lads have been in. He had 7s. 3d. (15p) in his possession.

Witness afterwards apprehended the other defendants, and money was found on them.

On one was found a key which they admitted having stolen from Mr H.L.Smethurst´s garage. When charged they admitted it.

The young boy then made a statement that they were concerned in three more robberies; at the Denaby Rifle club room, the Cadeby Brickyard shed, and Mr Downing´s shop in Low Road, Conisboro´.

Dealing with the rifle club room, Fred Banham, secretary, 14 Clifton Street, said he missed the rifle, 700 rounds of ball ammunition, two cleaning rods and five lenses from telescopes. All the locks of the cupboards had been broken off. PC Raper said he found the rifle and the cartridges buried in the hedge bottom. The defendants admitted it.

The eldest boy was then charged with stealing a quantity of tools from the Cadeby Brickyard. When Raper saw him he admitted it, but now denied that he committed the offence, saying he was frightened. The case was dismissed.

The boy’s father, who said he had served 4 1/2 years in France, wanted the boy to be sent to a training ship. He did not want him to get into any further trouble, and he might do if he stayed there. The father of another defendant said they could not keep the lads separate at school. He had been away in France for a half years, and the separation allowance was only a mere existence for the woman, and she had had to go out and work to keep the house going. The father of the little boy said he had not been in the Army. The boy had been under the probation officer, and had not given any trouble, but had got out of hand somehow. He could not be watching him all along his wife was ailing.

The headmaster at the school gave him a good word.

The eldest defendant, it was stated, had been before the court, five times, and had been birched twice; the other two had also been birched.

Inspector Holmes said in addition there were three other charges against them, viz., stealing a key from Mr Smethurst´s garage, stealing two keys belonging to Mr Ralph Williamson, and with breaking and entering the lock-up shop of Ernest Downing, in low road, Conisbrough, and stealing four jack knives valued at 30 shillings.

The probation officers said the boys all had good homes, and there was no reason why they should go wrong.

The chairman said it was a shocking case, and they could not understand it in the present days of education. The elder boy would have to go to a reformatory for five years, and the other two would receive six strokes with the Birch rod, and the parents would have to pay 40 shillings

Below is a photo which includes GB Shiffners' eldest son G E Shiffner