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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1863, Sunday, December 18, 1831

Extensive Post Office Robbery.

John Barrett, one of the General Post letter-carriers and an assistant sorter of paid letters and franks in the Inland Office, and William Kay, a youth, his brother-in-law. were charged with extracting money from letters placed in the General Post-office. A great many letters, several of which contained Bank post bills to the amount of about 3,000l., had been discovered in the pockets one of the prisoner Barrett's Post-office coats.

Clements, one of the Inspectors of the C division of police, stated that on Thursday evening, from communication he had received, he went to the Crown public house Eden street, Oxford street, where he found the prisoner drinking with two girls of the town. He called Kay out of the room, and on searching him found two Bank-post bills, one of 43l. 14s. id., and the other for 241. 5s. 8d., which he said had been given him by Barrett. He next secured and searched Barrett, on whom he found a large sum of money, and a quantity of papers, one of which he endeavoured to destroy, but was prevented after a desperate resistance. This proved to be a letter from Mr. A. M. Todd to his brother the Rev. E. J. Todd, Axminster, in which had been inclosed a Bank post-bill for 10l. After securing the prisoners, Clements went to Barrett's lodgings, and found a bill of exchange for 100l. concealed in a tea-cup. The prisoners refused to say anything; and Mr. Peacock, solicitor to the Post Office, requested the case might he postponed, as he had no doubt of procuring the attendance of a gentleman who would identify the check. This being acceded to, the prisoners were remanded.

On Sunday night Mr. M'Kee, from information which he had received, proceeded to a house in Princes street, Lisson grove, where Barrett had slept on the night previous to his being taken into custody; and, on making a forcible entrance into a back-room, there discovered the Post Office uniform of Barrett concealed under the bed. The pockets were examined, and upwards of thirty letter addressed to different individuals, were found therein. Among them was found the letter in which the bill of exchange for 1001., produced at the examination of the prisoners, had been enclosed. On a farther examination of the papers, the Inspector found a Bank-post bill for 1,000l., one for 646l., another for 3001., and several other bills, amounting in the whole to about 3,000l. We understand that the Bank-post bill for 1,000l. was inclosed in a letter to the Marquis of Westminster.

On Tuesday the prisoners underwent a second examination, when the two bills of exchange found on Kay were sworn to as having been remitted from Mr. H. Dunderdale, of Bucklersbury, to Mr. C. Dunderdale, at Manchester; and that the letter containing them had never been received as directed.

Mr. A. M. Todd identified the letter found on Barrett as being his writing.

Mr. W. Prince, clerk to the Imperial Life Insurance Office, identified a letter containing two Bank-post bills, one for 300l. and the other for 501., found at Barrett's lodgings, which had been put into the Post Office, addressed to Mrs. Carkee, Falmouth.

Mr. F. B. Smith, clerk to Messrs. Bazett and Co. merchants, proved to having put into the office a letter containing the 1001. bill of exchange found at Barrett's lodgings, addressed to General H. Hunter, Antet's hill, Coldstream, North Britain.

Several other charges are to be brought forward against the prisoners, who were remanded to a future day to procure evidence.