Bicycle Theft & Detective Work, 1901

Constable Thomas Docherty was congratulated on the smart capture of a thief in Blantyre during 1901. Bringing justice to Blantyre. However, first we need to go back a step…..

On Sunday, 30th June 1901, a young man from Cambuslang had been out all night and was travelling back through Blantyre, heading home to Cambuslang on his bicycle. Just beyond the West End of Blantyre, before Spittal, he sat down on the grass “for a rest” and fell asleep in the strong summer sunshine.

When he awoke, he found that his bicycle gone, his pockets rifled and his money stolen. The man then reported the theft to the Blantyre Police and on the Monday morning, Constable Docherty began his investigation.

He found from enquiries that two boys had been seen pushing a bike up Bardykes Road and so went in that direction. When he got to Hunthill, he found a boy acting suspiciously, seemingly trying to avoid the constable’s approach. The boy was known to the Police officer and so the police then went to the house of the boy’s father. The boy was there and at once admitted taking the bike. However, he said, a drunk man had given him the bike and the money.

The boy was taken into custody and the next day appeared in the Sheriff Court where he was found guilty of theft and imprisoned for 60 days, mostly on account of previous convictions. The judge complimented the officer on his swift investigation and knowledge of the area and of the boy involved. It was noted the boy was captured 3 hours after the investigation had started.

Illustration: Courtesy of Blantyre Project

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