Customs in the News

These are extracts from newspapers, unless otherwise stated, from the Hampshire Telegraph, about Customs, Excise and Coast Guard.

1820 - 1898

Hampshire Telegraph – 3 May 1824

CUSTOM HOUSE, COWES.      30th April 1824

Whereas a seized open BOAT, condemned in the Court of Exchequer for smuggling, called Fly of Cowes, of about eight tons, formerly belonging to persons living in St. Helens and Ryde, was STOLEN on the night of the 27th instant, from the beach at East Cowes, and towed out of the Harbour towards Spithead, and is supposed to be secreted in the Isle of Wight of Hampshire Coast. – A Reward of TWO GUINEAS is hereby offered to any person who will discover where the boat now is:- to be paid by the Collector at Cowes.


Hampshire Telegraph – 17 May 1824


The ANNIVERSARY DINNER of the ROYAL YACHT CLUB, this year, will be held at the Hotel, East Cowes, on Tuesday, 1st June, 1824, at six o’clock precisely.

JOHN WARD, H.M. and Secretary.

P.S.- There will be a MEETING of the CLUB at the Hotel, same morning, at 10 o’clock, to Audit Accounts, Ballot Members &c.

(John Ward was the Collector of Customs.)


Hampshire Telegraph – 29 November 1824


In the night of the 17th instant, Charles Clements, Chief Boatman, of Bembridge, lost his DEPUTATION.- Whoever will return the same to the Inspecting Commander at Ryde, or the Collector of Customs at Cowes, shall receive FIVE POUNDS Reward.


Hampshire Telegraph – 2 May 1825

CUSTOM HOUSE, LONDON. April 4th 1825

Whereas it has been represented to the Commissioner’s of His Majesty’s Customs that on the night of the 23rd ult. ROBERT WILLIS, chief Boatman and the Preventive Men belonging to the station at Newtown, in the Isle of Wight, were on duty for the prevention of smuggling, and towards Freshwater fell in with a company of Smugglers, to the number of Forty five or Fifty, who dropped their Tubs, and whilst the chief Boatman and some of his Preventive Men were endeavouring to secure on of the Smugglers, the who company immediately fell upon them and severely beat and wounded the Chief Boatman and broke his Cutlass, and also beat one of the Preventive Men and took from him his pistol, and the smugglers having overpowered them, picked up their Tubs and escaped.

The Commissioners, in order to bring to justice the said Offenders, are hereby pleased to offer a Reward of FIFTY POUNDS to any person or persons who shall discover, or cause to be discovered, any one or more of the said Offenders, so that he or they may be apprehended and dealt with according to law: to be paid by the Collector of His Majesty’s Customs at Cowes upon Conviction.

By Order of the Commissioners, T.WHITMORE, Secretary.


The Gentleman’s Magazine  - January to June 1829

A Society of Archers has been formed in the Isle of Wight, through the exertions of Thomas Hastings, esq. Collector of the Customs at Cowes, who is one of the most scientific adepts at this martial sport in the kingdom. The members are composed of ladies and gentlemen, residents of the Island; and there are a few non- residents admitted as honorary members. Lady Barrington is the Lady Patroness. The first meeting of this newly-formed Society took place in Carisbrooke Castle in the Place of Arms, on Monday 18th June. 


Hampshire Telegraph – 13 April 1829

By Order of the Commissioners of his Majesty’s Customs.

To be SOLD by AUCTION, at the Custom House, Cowes on Wednesday the 15th April,1829, at Noon.- The HULL of the round sterned carmel-built HOY, lately occupied as a Residence by the Coast Guard boatmen, at Newtown, where she now lies for inspection, of the following dimensions – length, 77 feet; breadth, 17ft. 8in; depth, 9 ft. 9 in. : 106 tons.

At the same time will be SOLD, the following GOODS, which have been seized and legally condemned:-

            Shag Tobacco               203 lbs

            Cigars                           27 lbs

            Snuff                             10 lbs

Three Boats, two Lance-wood Spars, sundry pieces Warp, and broken-up Half-Ankers; sundry condemned Stores and Boats, belonging to the Coast Guard Sevice.

Droits of Admiralty – Four pieces of Fur Timber, two casks about 240 gallons Spirits Turpentine, Buoy, and Buoy Rope, and one small Boat.


Hampshire Telegraph – 22 March 1830

The Stag, Revenue Cutter, Commanded by Mr Ferris, has brought in the Snipe, smuggling lugger, of twenty-five tons and eight men. The cargo thrown overboard during the chase, except 59 tubs which were picked up and delivered to Cowes Custom House.

Lieut. Marshall, at Atherfield, has sent in to the Cowes Custom House 42 tubs, taken on Sunday ningh in the act of landing. The smugglers escaped due to the extreme darkness of the night.


Hampshire Telegraph – 7 June 1830

On Wednesday evening, between seven and eight o’clock, as two gentlemen of the Customs at Cowes, Messrs. Smith and Abbott, were returning home, they were stopped by a man belonging to the Coast Guard Service, armed with a drawn cutlass, who refused to let them pass, although they gave him their names. His conduct was such as to oblige the gentlemen to defend themselves, and they succeeded in taking his cutlass from him. He then drew a pistol from his belt, which flashed in the pan. He was then thrown to the ground, when, after a scuffle, two pistols were taken from him, loaded with a ball. (Smith and Abbott were clerks at the Custom House.)


Hampshire Telegraph – 9 August 1830

By the advancement of Richard Stephens, Esq. (of the Customs at Cowes), to the Office of Collector in one of the West Indian Islands, the Yacht Club will lose the services of that Gentleman as Secretary, who by his urbanity and deportment has won the esteem of all its members.


Hampshire Telegraph – 19 September 1831


To be SOLD or LET, from June next.- A capital DWELLING HOUSE, adjoining the Custom House, with a Parterre in front, connected with the Harbour, well suited for a Yachtsman’s Residence.- Apply to Mr. William Smith, Customs Cowes.


Hampshire Telegraph – 25 November 1833


Whereas it has been represented to the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs, that on the afternoon of the 29th inst., John Brett, a Commissioned Boatman of the Coast Guard, was violently assaulted in the execution of his duty, by RICHARD WEBB, jun., JOHN WEBB, and FRANCOIS CEFERNE, who thereby effected their Escape from Custody.

The Commissioners of His Majesty’s Custom, in order to bring to Justice the said Offenders, are hereby pleased to offer a REWARD of TWENTY POUNDS, for the apprehension of each Offender, to any Person or Persons who shall discover and apprehend them, or cause to be discovered or apprehended, them or any one of them, so that he or them may be dealt with according to the Law; the said reward of £20 to be paid by the Collector of His Majesty’s Customs at Cowes, upon conviction.

By Order of the Commissioners.

C.A. SCOVELL, Secretary.

Richard Webb, jun. is stated to be a resident of Yarmouth, in the Isle of Wight, 24 years of age; height 5ft. 9in. ruddy complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, and slightly made.

John Webb is also stated to be resident of the same place, 20 years age; height 5ft. 7in. fresh complexion, black hair, blue eyes, and inclined to be stout.

Francois Ceferneis stated to be a resident of Cherbourg, in France, 19 years of age; height 5ft. 3in. fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes.


Hampshire Telegraph – 28 March 1836

On Thursday, 50 tubs of smuggled Liquor was lodged in the Custom-house warehouse at this Port, from Shanklin station, at the back of the Island. (The following report also appeared in the same edition “On Wednesday, 50 casks of contraband spirits were crept up at Sandown, and lodged in the Newport Excise Office.”)


Hampshire Telegraph – 19 September 1836

WINCHESTER. Committals – John Webb for assaulting John Butt, an officer of customs at Cowes.


Hampshire Telegraph – 24 April 1837

Twenty-eight casks of spirit have been deposited in the Customhouse warehouse this week, from the Freshwater station by Lieut. Jenkins, R.N.


Hampshire Telegraph – 13 January 1838

Fifteen casks of spirit were deposited in the Custom House Warehouse on Saturday, having been crept up by the Preventive Officer at Bembridge.


Hampshire Telegraph – 26 February 1838

NEWPORT. At the County Sessions on Saturday 17th inst, informations were preferred by Ambrose Foote, Collector of customs, against Jacob Rogers and Thomas Tansom, for being on the 23rd December last, at the parish of St. Helens, assembled with other persons unknown, to the number of three or more, for the purpose of carrying and conveying contraband goods. The information in each case was sustained, and the prisoners each sentenced to six months hard labour in the house of correction, at Winchester.


Hampshire Telegraph – 28 April 1839

By Order of the Honourable Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Customs.

To be SOLD by AUCTION at the Custom House, Cowes, on Wednesday 22nd May, 1839, at 11 o’clock in the forenoon, - The following GOODS, which have been seized and legally condemned, viz:- two bottle containing half a gallon of Rum, one pound of Segars, with three open BOATS and MATERIALS, to be sold whole; together with the broken-up HULLS of the Smack Charlotte, of Portsmouth, 15 tons per register, and three open Boats, the Sails and Rigging of which will be cut and sold for paper stuff, the Spars reduced to firewood, and Anchors and Creepers broken; sundry condemned half Ankers, and condemned Customs and Coast Guard STORES, with twenty-five Telescopes, and, for the duties, 18lbs of Chicory.

The above articles may be viewed on application at the Custom-House, the day before the sale, between the hours of 10 and 2 o’clock. (The same edition also included the sale of the Repulse Cutter, formally used as a Revenue Cruizer by the Collector at Portsmouth.)


Hampshire Telegraph – 18 May 1840

PORTSMOUTH. The Adder, revenue cutter, T.Morgan, Commander, captured off the Isle of Wight, on the night of the 6th inst., a smack belonging to this Port, with 20 casks of contraband spirit, and 2 men; the vessel and casks were taken to Cowes Custom House, and the two smugglers lodged in Newport gaol.


Hampshire Telegraph – 20 March 1841

NEWPORT. At the County Petty Sessions, James Crasweller, Thomas Goldring, and George Goldring, were found guilty of throwing overboard the cargo of a smack called Night Owl, of Portsmouth, when between Nab  Light and Selsey Bill on the 2nd March, and which was seen by Captain T. Morgan and his men while chasing her. She was soon taken and brought into Cowes. A boy on board at the time was acquitted, but each of the others were sent to Winchester to hard labour for six months.

Reuben Coleman, had a similar sentence passed on him for being found on board his vessel the New Eagle, of Cowes, on the morning of the 2nd March, his boat being found near the vessel on the shore, with 79 casks of contraband spirits, strung to a warp and part of which tubs were in the boat, and part in the water, the boat was stove in, but the crew of the cutter were so close after the crew of the Eagle that they had not time to push the boat off to sink with the tubs, but ran up the cliffs and were fired on by the crew of the Stag cutter, but they all escaped: it was near the beacon light at Freshwater.- Mr. Holmes was employed for all the smugglers mentioned above, and Mr. F. Blake was retained by the crown. The tubs were afterwards put on board the Eagle, and the Captain, vessel, and cargo, delivered to the Customs at Cowes.


Hampshire Telegraph – 14 June 1841

By Order of the Honourable Commissioners of her Majesty’s Customs.

To be SOLD by AUCTION at the Custom House, Cowes, on Friday the 25th day of June, 1841, at 11 o’clock in the forenoon, - The following GOODS, which have been seized and legally condemned, viz:- Manufactured Tobacco 11¾lbs, French Wine 1½ gallons, two open boats, together with the broken-up Hulls, Materials, and Boats of the Smack Psyche, of Cowes, burthen 17 8-94 tons; Eclipse, of Cowes, burthen 10 47-94 tons, New-Eagle, of Jersey, burthen 23 8-94 tons, Night Owl, of Portsmouth, burthen 10 34-94 tons; sundry condemned half Ankers, and condemned Coast Guard Stores.

ADMIRALTY DROITS:- Two Casks of Foreign Butter, 3qrs.2lbs., four pieces of Timber 3lds. 4ft., one spar, piece of Mast, one Cap, one Topmast Iron, and two Iron Bolts.

And sundry Goods, which have remained in the Queen’s Warehouse undisposed of beyond the period allowed by law, consisting of certain Deal Boards, an empty Box, Linen and Wearing Apparel old and worn, 4½lbs Segars, Mother-of-pearl Shells, Succades, Chocolate, old Copper Sheathing, Coffee, Manufactured Tobacco, Spirits not sweetened, a Picture Frame, 2lbs Crown Glass, a cask containing 19 gallons of Brandy under dealer’s proof.

The above articles may be viewed on application at the Custom-house, two days before the sale.


Hampshire Telegraph – 18 March 1844

A keg of spirits having been found on the shore between Brook and Freshwater Gate, by the Preventive Service under Liut. Gould R.N., suspicions arose that some more of the same nature must be somewhere along the coast; a very rigid search was instituted, and in a cave under the cliff was discovered no less than one hundred and nineteen more casks of contraband spirits, which were taken to the Customs at Cowes, on Tuesday.


Caledonian Mercury – 26 August 1852

SMUGGLING ON BOARD THE ROYAL SQUADRON AT PORTSMOUTH – No little commotion has been caused at Portsmouth and Cowes by a search of the Queen’s yachts, and other of Her Majesty’s ships forming the late Royal Squadron to Antwerp, by the Customs’ officers whereby smuggling to a considerable extent has been detected. It appears information was despatched from Antwerp to the Customhouse, London, of the shipments or purchases of tobacco, &c., made by the ships of the Royal Squadron when lying off Antwerp, and when it is considered that the article ventured may be obtained in Antwerp at 4d per lb., and may be retailed in England at 3s 6d per lb., the inducement seems a strong one. On the departure of the squadron from the Scheldt, the Journal du Commerce published the following in reference to the Queen’s visit to Antwerp:-  “The visit of the Royal Squadron to our port has been productive of much benefit to the shops on or near the quays, and particularly the tobacconists whom sold not less than 5000 lb weight of tobacco of all kinds”. Of course such weighty transactions as these did not escape official notice, and information of their character was sent on to London, and thence to Portsmouth and Cowes. When therefore the Royal steamers returned to Cowes, Customs’ officers were in waiting to seize the contraband stock, and as soon as the Queen had left her yacht they commenced their search, and even the most private apartments of the Royal yacht, we are informed, did not escape overhaul. About 80 lb of tobacco was found on board the Victoria and Albert, but it is difficult to ascertain accurate particulars of the matter, great care being taken be taken to keep them from the public as much as possible. On Thursday a cartload of the smuggled venture was actually landed at Portsmouth Dockyard from the harbour, and “run” through the dockyard and out at the grand entrance, notwithstanding a policeman on duty at the gate called upon a person who he thought was a Customs officer’ to search the cart. A man named Samuel White, a rigger of 43 years’ service in Portsmouth Dockyard, is in custody for having 20 lb contraband tobacco in his possession believed to have been unshipped from on of the vessels of the Royal Squadron. He is remanded for seven days in order an investigation may in the meantime take place. On Saturday a waterman named Henry Long, and two boys named respectively Robert Layton and George Cox, were detected in running 50 lb of tobacco from another of the vessels of the Royal Squadron (Her Majesty’s ship Samson we believe), and are in prison on remand for three days. It is believed other and larger seizures will yet be made. – Times.


Hampshire Telegraph – 24 December 1858

DEATHS. On the 17th Inst., at Lymington, in his 82nd year of age, William Smith, Esq., late of her Majesty’s Customs, at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, and only survivor of the family of the late Nicholas Tipper Smith, Esq., of Southampton.


Hampshire Telegraph – 25 August 1860

COWES. The Collector of her Majesty’s Customs at this port, W.Love, Esq., retires from public service, after the lengthened period of 53 years. He carries into retirement the regard and esteem of all who know him, and they hope he may be spared many years to enjoy his well-earned leisure. J. Dear, Esq., comptroller of this port, succeeds Mr. Love as collector.


Hampshire Telegraph – 13 April 1861

James Rice, mariner, charged by the Collector of her Majesty’s Customs, at Cowes, with being in possession of 3½lbs. of smuggled cigars. Pleaded guilty, and was fined in the mitigated penalty of £3 5s 8d, and the property confiscated.


Hampshire Telegraph – 2 June 1866

THE WEST COWES LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH met on Tuesday. Present – Messrs. Dear (chairman), Moore, Corke, Sibley, Hillier, Legard, Corke and Ratsey. ……… The Clerk informed the Board that he had received a letter from the Collector of Customs at Cowes, on the subject of quarantine, and he was directed to apply to the Privy Council to learn if and Choleraic patient would be admitted on board the quarantine vessel at the Motherbank, should they arrive in the Port. ………


Hampshire Telegraph – 5 December 1866

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS NEWPORT Saturday. – Before H.P.Gordon, Bart., chairman, Sir John Simeon, Bart., and F.W. Popham, Esqs.

THE SEIZURE OF CONTRABAND SPIRIT AT NEWPORT. George Jones, of Wroxall, carter, Susannah, his wife, and John Toogood, labourer, were place at the bar charged by William Dear, Esq. collector of customs at West Cowes, with having a quantity of contraband spirits in their possession. Mr Beckingsale appeared for the defendants

George Wade, commissioned boatman of the coastguard at Ventnor deposed that on the 25th November he went to Wroxall. It was nearly 11 o’clock in the morning when he got there. He went to Jones’s house , which is close to the railway; it is a double house, and he searched the apartment nearest the roadside. He also went upstairs where he found a tub of spirits near the head of the bed. Mrs Jones was in the house. He delivered the tub to the chief boatman who was present. . The tub contained white brandy.

James Wade, chief boatman, stated that on Sunday morning last he went over the Down to Wroxall, and went with the last witness to George Jones’s house, and searched round the house. He went upstairs, and there they found a tub of spirit in the bed-room. It was not quite full; he tasted it and found it to contain strong spirits. They then searched the outhouse, and Thomas Pill, boatman found one tub of spirits there, which was full. William Pill afterwards found five more tubs in the outhouse, covered with furze.

William Nosworthy, boatman, said he was ordered to go to George Jones’s, and found five tubs in the shed and passed them out to James Wade. They were perfectly full, with slings, under some furze. He took possession of them, and sent them to Cowes with James Wade.

P.C. Skeats deposed that on the previous Sunday evening he went with Pill to Jones’s house at Wroxall, and from information received apprehended him. The prisoner said he had done wrong, and acted against the law of his country, and he must get out of it in the best manner he could.

P.S. Rossiter, stationed at Ventnor, said he went to Jones’s house at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning. He first saw Toogood standing by the pig-stye, and then saw Mrs. Jones go from the woodhouse door into the house; she was carrying something. He did not go into the house, but went down the village, and when he came back he saw the tubs handed out of the shed.

Mrs Jones and her brother (Toogood) were then discharged there being no evidence against them.

Mr Beckingsale, in addressing the court in behalf of the prisoner, said he had been in the same service for the last 40 years, during which time no charge whatever had been brought against him by Mr Johnson, of Wroxall Farm, and he hoped, from his good conduct, that a mitigated penalty only would be inflicted.

The Chairman said that in this case there was no mitigation, and he was sorry to say he must convict the defendant in the penalty of £100, and to be imprisoned until that amount be paid. Any application on his behalf must be made to the Commissioners of Customs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 11 December 1867

A SMUGGLING CASE. At the County Bench on Saturday before W.G Shedden, Esq. (chairman), T.T. Fowke, and C.G. Mcgregor Skinner, Esqrs., John Brown, a lad of about 16 years of age was prosecuted by the Collector of Customs at Cowes for smuggling brandy.- Mr. Bevely appeared for the Collector of Customs, and Mr. Field for the defendant.- George Weeks, chief officer of the Coast-guard station said  - On the 20th November, when at Coldwell-bay, Isle of Wight, at 11.30p.m., I saw a boat pulling towards the shore. There were two men in the boat, but the taller of the two jumped out of the boat and ran away; the other also tried to escape, but I captured him. The prisoner is the one I captured. I got into the boat and found several small tubs of brandy. I asked him where he brought them from? He replied “My father’s vessel the Annie.” I asked him where it was? He said “She is gone into the harbour.” I took him to the fort and got assistance, and then went back to the boat and found everything as before. I then went away and told Captain Hall, and afterwards went to the coastguard station, and had the tubs &c. put on board the coastguard galley. There were 38 3-gallon tubs, a large jar containing brandy, and a French spirit guage. I delivered them to James Ralph at the customs wharf, Cowes.- Examined by Mr. Field: I do not know whether the prisoner is of weak intellect or otherwise. I did not fire of a pistol to frighten him; but I fired for assistance. I told him to speak the truth before I left the boat.- James Ralph, acting warehouseman at the Custom-house West Cowes said – On the 3rd of December I received from Mr. Weeks 44 tubs of brandy, and one jar containing 122 gallons of brandy. One tub was produced in court.- The prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of £100 and the cost of the court £1 10s, in all £101 10s.

John Brown, the father of the previous witness, was charged by Mr William Dear, collector of customs at Cowes, for going over to France, in his vessel, the Annie, and bringing for therefrom the said tubs &c., which had been seized, and for which his son had been fined. Mr. Bevely appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Field for the defence. The prisoner, on the recommendation of his counsel pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to pay a fine of £100 and the cost of the court £1 10s, which money he at once paid down.

Elijah Grieks and Alfred Stubbins were charged with breaking into the Custom’s bonded store at West Cowes and stealing therefrom seven cases of brandy.- Mr. Joyce appeared to defend Grieks and Stubbins. Mr. Beverly and Mr Dear watched the case for Customs.- Mr. Hooper for Messrs. Mew and Co., the owners of the stolen brandy, and Mr. Matthews part owner of the stores were present, but would not prosecute. Mr Horan, the superintendent of police, however, conducted the case. – James Ralph said- I am a locker of the Customs-store at West Cowes. No.1 store is the wet store where spirits are kept. All accounts of spirits are entered in a book. On the 16th November last I discovered the store had been broken into, and seven cases of brandy stolen. The store is locked by two padlocks. The key of one padlock is kept by Customs, and the key of the other by Mr. Matthews, the owner of the store.- A case of brandy similar to that stolen was shown.- By Mr Joyce: No one could get into the store without the Collector’s key. Both must go together.- The padlocks were produced.- Elizabeth Nutkins: I live at the Point. On the 14th November I was going home at 20 past nine in the evening. I had to pass the Commercial Wharf, when I saw Grieks come from the wharf. He had a box on his back. It was a square box like the one shown to me. Grieks went to Medina-terrace. Stubbings lives there, and I saw Grieks enter by the back-door. He had the box upon his back. I went home, I was indoors a quarter of an hour when I came out in front and met Grieks again. He had something like a box or bag, which he put under his Guernsey.- The case was adjourned until Saturday.


Hampshire Telegraph – 4 March 1868

COUNTY BENCH.- Saturday,- Before Sir Henry P. Gordon, W.G. Shedden, R.C. Sheddon, T.T. Fowke, and C.G. Mcgregor Skinner, Esqrs., - James Murcell, sen., James Murcell, jun.,and Edward Murcell, who were remanded from Saturday last, were brought up and charged with smuggling tobacco . Mr Dear, the collector of customs, Cowes, prosecuted and Mr Wallace, of Ryde, defended the prisoners. Joseph Bond, chief-boatman of the coast-guard station at Bembridge, stated that when on boarding duty at St Helens on the 21st ult., he saw a boat approaching the shore in the direction of Bembridge Ledge, and when he pulled towards the said boat he saw the men who were in it throwing something overboard, just as they got alongside the schooner. He then saw the three prisoners, who were in the boat, putting off to a brig. He went to see what the prisoners had thrown into the water, which he found to be tobacco, which was picked up, and he afterwards went in pursuit of the boat and took the prisoners into custody. They also found some tobacco amongst some small coals. The tobacco was produced. The above evidence was corroborated by the other boatman who was on duty with Bond. J Rolph, acting warehouseman at the Custom-house, West Cowes, said he weighed the tobacco picked up in the water, the weight of which was 12½ lbs., and was the same kind as that found amongst the coals. The prisoners were sentenced to pay £9 15s each.


Hampshire Telegraph – 25 November 1868

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. Saturday, Before Sir Henry Percy Gordon, Bart., (Chairman), and C.G.Macgregor Skinner, Esq.

John Wheeler, a fisherman, of Shanklin, was charged with smuggling three gallons of French brandy.- William Dear, Esq., collector of customs for the Isle of Wight, prosecuted, and Mr. Joyce appeared for the defence.- Thomas Leigh, coat-guardman said:- I was at the Sandown railway-station on the evening of the 12th inst., when I observed the prisoner carrying a basket under his arm, in which was a tub of spirit. I said to him, “I want you,” and then blew my trumpet for my men. While my men were coming the prisoner said, “It is a bad job, somebody must have informed upon me.” I knew it was foreign brandy by the strength of the smell.- John Kent, chief officer of the coast-guard station, Sandown, said:- That when the former witness brought the prisoner to him, he asked the latter where he got the tub and where he was going to take it? He replied that “A short man gave me a shilling and asked me to take it to the York Inn, Shanklin,” and added “It is a bad job, somebody must have informed upon me.”- James Ralph, of the customs, West Cowes, deposed to receiving the tub containing three gallons of brandy on the 13th inst. from Mr Kent. The tub was found to be 25.2 above proof.- The prisoner was sentenced to pay a fine of £100 but in default of payment, he was committed to Winchester prison to be kept there during her Majesty’s pleasure.


Hampshire Telegraph – 20 January 1869

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. On Saturday before Sir Henry P.Gordon, Bart., chairman, Sir John Simeon, Bart., M.P., T.T. Fowke, C.G.Macgregor Skinner, C. Brett, Esq. and Captain Legard.

Joseph Steele, master of the trading vessel Eathen, was summoned for committing a breach of the “Merchant Shipping Act” by neglecting to make certain entries of payment of wages in the agreement sheet.- Mr. Dear, collector of Customs on the Isle of Wight prosecuted.- After the prosecutor had stated the case, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge, and said he had no intention of breaking the law.- He was fined in the mitigated penalty of £2 10s and costs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 9 June 1869

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. On Saturday before Sir H.P.Gordon, Bart., chairman, C.G.Macgregor Skinner, and T.T. Fowke, Esqs.

SMUGGING AT SHANKLIN.- George Colenutt, a fisherman, of Shanklin, was charged with smuggling 42 casks containing 125 gallons of brandy.- Mr.W.Dear, collector of customs, prosecuted and Mr. Field defended the prisoner.- Thomas Pill, Coastguardman said: on the 30th May last, at 5p.m., I was on duty at Shanklin, close to the boat-house, when I saw the prisoner leave the boat with two other men. One of the men was named Hammel Spencer and the other was a clerk in the telegraph office.- Thomas Spillman, coastguardman said: I was on duty at Shanklin coastguard station on the morning of the 31st ult., and between one and two o’clock I saw a man come on shore from a boat. I kept the boat in sight until my officer came and took possession of it. Shortly afterwards 42 tubs of brandy were picked up on the beach and on the cliffs between Shanklin and Luccombe Chine on the morning of the 31st inst. The tub now produced is one of them.- Mr Nolan, chief officer of the coastguard station, Shanklin, said: On the morning of 31st May I found a boat in charge of the witness Spillman. On examining the boat I picked up several feet of rope, and comparing it with the rope around each tub of brandy they were found to agree. At a quarter past 12 o’clock on the morning of the 1st inst., when visiting the guard on duty, my attention was drawn to a boat light between Shanklin and Luccombe. The 42 tubs of brandy taken from the cliff I delivered to the collector of customs at West Cowes. As the boat belonged to the prisoner I took him into custody at 11a.m on the 31st ult., and handed him over to the police.- James Ralph, acting warehouseman at the custom-house, West Cowes said he received the tubs from the last witness, and that on gauging the tubs he found them to contain 125 gallons, and on testing the brandy he ascertained it to be 45 over proof.- The justices, considering the evidence not sufficient to convict discharged the prisoner before Mr Field had occasion to address the bench for the defence. . (The same Newspaper also included a case of killing game without a licence, prosecuted by Mr Jacques, Supervisor of the Inland Revenue, which at that time the included Excise Department, who had the duty of controlling such matters.)   


Birmingham Daily Post – 24 March 1870

THE WRECK OF THE NORMANDY    Southampton, March 23

A telegram received from Shanklin, through a Collector of Customs at Cowes says that a mail bag has been picked up marked “Jersey”, and brought to Shanklin, which is supposed to be from the ship Normandy. It is, therefore, evident that Captain Harvey and his officers had got the mails out of the mail-room with the intention of saving them. (The Normandy was a cross channel paddle steamer which sank after a collision with the Mary on 17 March. 13 crew and 1 passenger were lost.)


Hampshire Telegraph – 8 June 1870

THE VENTNOR SMUGGLING CASE. – At the Newport Petty Sessions on Saturday, Noah Williams, of Ventnor, was brought up and charged with smuggling 35 tubs of Brand. – Mr. Dear, Collector of Customs, prosecuted, and Mr. Beverly, from London, conducted the case on behalf of the Commissioners of Customs.- Thomas Hoare said: I am a boatman belonging to the Coast Guard Station, Shanklin, and at a quarter past two o’clock on the morning of the 27th May, while I was on duty at Dunnose, situated between Shanklin and Ventnor, I observed a boat under sail approaching, and which came very close to the shore. It was not more that 50 yards from where I and Henry Evans were watching from behind a bush. After hovering about for some time it stood out to sea and then put about and came into Luccombe Chine at a quarter to three o’clock, and after the two men who were in the boat had rolled up the sails, they threw two or three tubs from the boat towards the shore. I immediately sent Henry Evans to Shanklin for assistance, and during his absence several men came out of a place of concealment, went down to the boat, and assisted to land several tubs. I could not identify any of the men, but I recognised the boat as the Folly, of Ventnor. When the parties saw me, the men on the shore ran off inland, and the man who was in the boat put to sea, leaving on the sand 25 tubs of brandy, which I took possession of, which I handed to Mr. Nolan, the chief boatman of the Shanklin station. The last named officer with others went in pursuit of the boat, and shortly after they had gone in pursuit, John Olliver arrived at Luccombe Chine with the Ventnor galley, and on learning what had occurred also started in pursuit of the smuggler. The Shanklin galley failed in the pursuit, but as the smuggler’s boat was making for the west, it was cut off and captured by the Ventnor galley, after having been chased for three hours. There was only one man in the boat when it put out to sea, and I never lost sight of it from the time it left the shore until it was taken possession of by the Ventnor galley. – Henry Evans corroborated the evidence of the last witness. – Henry Oliver, chief boatman of the Coast Guard Station, Ventnor said: I reached Luccombe with the Ventnor galley, accompanied by Mr. Taylor, early on the morning of the 27th of May, and on hearing what had taken place we went in pursuit of the boat, which was then about 2½ miles distant from the shore, and after a chase of three hours caught her, and brought her into Ventnor at 9a.m. When we took possession of the boat we found she was the Folly, of Ventnor, and the prisoner was the only man in charge. – Mr John Nolan, chief Boatman at Shanklin, deposed to having chased the boat for thirteen miles, and being unable to come up with her; and also to having received the 25 tubs of brandy from the witness Hoare. – The prisoner was fined £100, and costs, and in default of payment, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.


Hampshire Telegraph – 12 October 1870

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – On Saturday before C.Seely, Esq., M.P. (chairman), Admiral Crozier, Colonel the Hon. Somerset Calthorpe, C.G. McGregor Skinner, and F.W.Popham, Esqs.

James Spanner, dairyman and market gardener, Chale, was summoned for having in his possession six bottles of smuggled brandy, also a jar and a cask partly filled with the same spirit, and a small bottle filled with mixed liquor.- Mr. Dear, collector of Customs for the Isle of Wight, prosecuted for the Commissioners of Inland Revenue; and Mr Beckingsale appeared for the defence.- Mr Dear stated that in consequence of information which he received on the 22nd September, to the effect that a considerable quantity of foreign brandy had been landed at Chale, and that portions of it were likely to be found on the premises of several persons whose names were given, he sent his officers to Chale on the 23rd. The officers searched the premises of the parties named, and although they found indications of their having been in possession of foreign brandy, yet they only found smuggled spirits on the defendant of the defendant. The quantity found was six bottles, a jar and a cask partly filled with a spirit of a dark colour.- The quantities enumerated were produced. The defendant pleaded guilty to having in his possession the bottle and the jar, but denied knowing anything about the cask, as it was found in a filed adjacent to his house.- Mr Dear said the Commissioners could have sued for the £100 penalty, but they had instructed him to sue only for the mitigated penalty, the amount of which was £11, with £2 costs. The chairman said the magistrates had agreed to reduce the penalty, the defendant would therefore have to pay a fine of £5 10s and £2 costs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 3 May 1871

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – On Saturday before W.G. Shedden, Esq. (chairman), E. Brett, J. Coape, C.G. McGregor Skinner, and T. Leach, Esqs., and Major Atherley, James Skinner, stonemason, Shanklin, was charged with smuggling. – Mr. William Dear, collector of Customs for the Isle of Wight, prosecuted.- Police-sergeant Lawler said: On the 17th April I went to the house of the defendant, where I saw him standing at the door, and after I asked him if he had seen Police-constable Early I walked a few paces from the door. On returning I found the defendant had gone in and locked the door, and as he refused to open it, when requested by me to do so, I looked through a broken pane and saw the defendant’s son emptying a jar on the floor, and called on him to desist. I again called upon the defendant to open the door, at the same time charging him with being in possession of smuggled liquor; but instead of opening the door, I observed he was employed in pouring a bucket of pig’s wash across the floor. I them called upon the Coastguardmen, who came up and demanded to be admitted to the house; and on being let in I saw the jar produced, lying on the floor.- William Norworthy. Coastguardman, confirmed the above evidence, and added: I afterwards examined the garden, where I found a bottle which contained two quarts of Brandy, and in the pig stye an empty tub. – Mr John Knowles, station-master, said: I was present when Sergeant Lawler seized the jar and when the last witness found the bottle. There were five pints of spirit in the jar and two quarts in the bottle, which, from its colour and strength, I knew to be smuggled brandy. – Mr. Dear stated that the legal fine, being related according to quantity, was £1 17s 6d, but the magistrates could reduce it by one-fourth.  – He was fined £1 9s 6d and £1 costs. – James Young, labourer, of Shanklin, was fine 5s., and £1 costs, for having in his possession one pint of smuggled brandy.


Pall Mall Gazette – 18 October 1871


STEPHENS, Mr. R., Collector of Customs at Cowes, I.W., aged 81, Oct. 14.


Hampshire Telegraph – 29 January 1873

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – On Saturday before Sir H.Percy Gordon, Bart., (chairman), C.Seely, Esq., M.P. Snowden Henry, Esq., M.P., Colonel Atherley, E.G.Hammond, C.Brett, and W.A.Glyn, Esqs.,

Silas Kemp, John Pitman and John Buckler, of Sandown, were summoned for being in unlawful possession of wreck.- Mr. Hooper appeared for Mr.W.H.Holmes, the collector of Customs at Cowes, who prosecuted, by direction of the Board of Trade. Pitman and Buckler pleaded guilty, and Kemp was depended by Mr. Beckingsale.- Mr Robert White, who is in charge of the Coast-guard station, Sandown, stated that of late a considerable quantities of wreck had been washed ashore, and all wreck coming ashore, when seen, was taken possession of and pulled above the high water mark. At three o’clock on the morning of the 24th December two planks, 22ft. long, 9in broad, and 5in. thick were taken possession of by the Coastguard officers, hauled up above the high water mark, and left on the beach. The value of the planks was 11s. At half past 5 o’clock the planks were missed, and he afterwards found them in a wooden shed near the shore, belonging to a Mr. Cooper, who employed the defendant.- James Callicott, Coastguard boatman, said that at 3 o’clock on the morning of the 24th ult. when he was on duty on the beach at Sandown, he found that two planks had been washed ashore, and which he pulled up upon the beach. At half past five o’clock he missed them, and about the same time saw Kemp going in the direction of the shed.- The defendant denied the charge and called his master, Mr. Cooper, who stated that he was the Surveyor to Sandown Local Board, and one of the duties of the defendant was to pick up planks he saw, and there was nothing unusual for the public planks to become detached from the shore.- Kemp was discharged; Pitman and Buckler were each fined 20s, and 7s 6d costs; and 11s the value of the planks to be paid between them. Therefore each had to pay £1 13s.

Benjamin Banbury, a private in the 102nd regiment, and William Wynd, Sandown, were summoned for a similar offence. – Wynd, who was shown to have received the plank from the other prisoner, was discharged and the other prisoner was fined 1s, and 7s 6d costs.

William Walter Jolliffe, Sandown, was summoned for being in unlawful possession of wreck.- The defendant pleaded guilty, and as the bench believed he had erred through ignorance of the law, dismissed the case on condition he paid 7s 6d costs.

John Newnham, stonemason, Niton, was charged with being in unlawful possession of a piece of whalebone, of the value of 1s, being part of the wreck of the Valid, of Ardrossan.- Mr John Pepper, chief officer of the Coastguard-station, Blackgang, said that on the 6th inst. he saw the defendant going along the shore as Chale, and as he did not stop when called to do so, he fired a pistol, which caused him to stop, and on getting up to him, he found him in possession on the whalebone produced, which weighed ½ lb.- The defendant pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay 1s, the value of the whalebone, 20s fine, and 7s 6s costs, in all £1 8s. 6d.

Louis Hale, of Whitwell, who was also found in possession of a piece of wreck at Chale, on the 6th inst. was ordered to pay 6d, the value of the article, a fine of 1s and 7s 6d costs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 20 May 1874

SERIOUS CASE OF SMUGGLING DURING THE NIGHT.- At the County Bench on Saturday, George Hendy, John Simmonds, sen., John Simmonds, jun. and James Simmonds, Freshwater, and Joseph Bastiani, Chale, were charged with smuggling 36 gallons of brandy at Colwell Bay, Freshwater.- Mr. W.H.Holmes, Collector of Customs, and Mr. Beverly, solicitor to the Inland Revenue, attended to prosecute; and Mr. R.W. Ford, of Portsmouth, defended the prisoners.- Police constable T. McLaughlin said that at half past one o’clock on Sunday morning last, while on duty near Colwell Bay, Freshwater, he heard some men coming along the high road from the direction of the shore. He turned the light behind his back, and concealed himself in the hedge, and no sooner had he done so than five men came up – three in front and two immediately behind, each carrying a bag over his shoulder. He turned the light directly on the three men in front, when he recognised the prisoners Hendy, the elder Simmonds and Bastiani. He seized the elder Simmonds with one hand and Bastiani with the other, while he kept Hendy fixed against the bank. They all dropped the bags and kegs, which fell into the road. Simmonds wrenched himself from him, and so did Bastiani. The former ran off, but the latter lingered, and as he was afraid he would assist in relieving Hendy, with whom he was struggling, he threatened to strike him with his staff if he interfered. He then left. As Hendy carried the large stick produced, he knocked him down with his staff. He whistled for assistance, and was soon joined by Sergeant Horlock, and after the cuffs had been put upon Hendy, they found that the two other prisoners had dropped bags each containing two kegs. He could not swear that the Brothers James and John Simmonds were the men who had dropped the kegs and run off; but he believed that they were, as the two prisoners were the same height and appearance as the men he saw. He did not see their faces. A few minutes after the Sergeant had arrived, the brothers Simmonds, who live with their father, about 100 yards from where the struggle took place, came up to them, and said “What’s up?” He replied that they knew what was up, as was indicated by their clothes which were covered with mud and dust as if they had come up the cliffs, and other parts of their clothes were marked apparently, with dirty cord lines.- The witness underwent a severe examination by Mr. Ford.- Sergeant Horlock said he was stationed at Yarmouth, but was on duty last Sunday at Western-farm, and on hearing the signal for assistance about a third of a mile off, he hastened to the spot, and found Constable McLaughlin struggling with the prisoner Hendy. After placing the cuffs on him, he instructed the constable to collect the tubs. The prisoner Hendy and nine tubs were conveyed to Newport and given over to Superintendent Horan. The sergeant also deposed to the brothers coming up to them on the road when they were collecting the kegs of brandy, and also to the conversation that took place.- John Cham, a sergeant in the Coast-guard, said about eleven o’clock on Saturday night last he saw the elder Simmonds and his son come from the direction of the Needles in a large boat; and, on landing, asked them why they were so late, when they said they had gone to haul in pots, and had been delayed on account of the tide.- Mr. W. Hayman, chief officer of Totland Bay’s Coastguard station, Freshwater, said that he had been called by the police at three o’clock on Sunday morning to the house of the prisoners Simmonds, near Colwell Bay; and on examining the premises he found two casks which were filled with water and the other two with hog’s wash. All had a strong smell of spirits. As water seemed to have been lately thrown about the place, he observed to them “That they have had a wash down.”  The two brothers said nothing, but smiled. On examining the slop pit he perceived that it also smelt strongly of spirits.- Mr Superintendent Horan said he received the nine tubs of spirits from Sergeant Horlock on Sunday last, which he delivered the same evening to the Collector of Customs at Cowes. On the same day Hendy was brought to the station. On Sunday afternoon he went to Freshwater and apprehended John Simmonds and his two sons, whom he charged with having, that morning, been concerned in unshipping foreign spirits liable to duty. They all declared they were not there, which assertion they repeated after having been placed in the cart. He then told them that prisoner Hendy had stated that they were all three present, to which they made no reply.- P.C. Rossiter deposed to having taken the prisoner Bastiani into custody at Chale-green, Parish of Chale, on the 12th inst., when he charged him with smuggling.- P.C Phillpotts said that he had charge of all the prisoners at the police-station, Newport, and about 11 o’clock on Monday evening, after the prisoners had gone to bed, he heard them begin to talk, when he went to listened. The older Simmonds said to Hendy, “What made you tell who were there?” Hendy answered, “I did not tell who were there, but they asked me who was there between the three Simmonds’, and I said I did not know.” After a few seconds Hendy said, “I expect we shall get six months if the case goes to trial;” the elder Simmonds replied, “No, we shall get it settled here.” After the witness had given further evidence as to the conversation which had taken place between the prisoners, he was severely cross-examined by Mr. Ford who denounced in the strongest possible terms the conduct of the witness in listening to the conversation of the prisoners.- Mr. W. Holmes said he was Collector of Customs at Cowes, and on Sunday last he received nine kegs of brandy from Superintendent Horam. The keg produced was one of them. The phial in his hand contained a sample of spirits taken from the kegs, which was from 50 to 60 over proof.- The exact quantity in the kegs were 24 gallons, but when liquefied with water to 36 gallons, it still remained 42 gallons over proof.- James and John Simmonds were told to stand down. The elder Simmonds and Hendy, who pleaded, and Bastiani, who pleaded not guilty; were each ordered to pay a fine of £100; and £2 costs; or in default, six month’s imprisonment. The three prisoners were removed in custody.- Sir Henry Gordon said he was requested by the magistrates to express their approval and commendation of the vigilance and courageous conduct of Constable McLaughlin, in his efforts to capture the prisoners.- Mr. Beverly, on behalf of the Inland Revenue, also commended the conduct of the constable. The elder Simmonds, who is a person of means, late on Saturday afternoon paid his fine and costs by giving a cheque for £102.


Hampshire Telegraph – 9 February 1876

SERIOUS CASE OF SMUGGLING AT NITON. At Newport County Bench on Saturday before Sir H.P. Gordon, F. Pittis Esq., F. Vulliamy and H.Waterworth Esqs. William Creeth, plumber and glazier, of Niton, was charged with concealing and being in unlawful possession of foreign spirits liable to duty.- Mr. Beverly, of Portsmouth, instructed by Mr.W.H.Holmes, collector of Customs for the Isle of Wight, appeared for the Board of Inland Revenue.- Mr. Holmes said that on Saturday last he went to the defendant’s house in Niton, where he saw him, and told him his position, and that he had been given to understand he had some foreign spirits in his possession. Defendant admitted he had some. He requested him to show him where the spirits were. He followed him through his shop into the garden and into an outhouse situated at the further end of the garden, when he produced a key and unlocked the door. On asking the defendant where the spirits were kept, he pointed to a bin, in which, on being opened he found a tub of brandy. By the side of the bin he found another tub of brandy, both of which he now produced. Each tub contained just over three gallons of brandy, or altogether just over six gallons and 8-10th of a gallon. One tub contained three gallons of white brandy 48 over proof, and the other tub contained dark brandy 18 under proof. Taking, therefore, both tubs, there were nearly seven gallons of proof brandy. After marking both tubs with the broad-arrow, he left the defendant in charge of one of his men and went in search of a policeman, who accompanied him to the defendant’s house, and there he gave the latter into custody. He asked the defendant where he obtained the tubs and what he paid for them. Defendant said he had given 45s for them. All the spirits found in the defendant’s house were liable to duty, as nothing less than 20 gallons was allowed to be imported. Witness squeezed salt water out of the ropes attached to the tubs.- The defendant pleaded guilty, and was fined £100 and £1 10s costs, or in default six months imprisonment.

Richard Hillier, Niton, was also charged with concealing and being in unlawful possession of foreign spirits liable to duty.- Mr John Horod said he was chief officer at the Coast Guard Station, St. Catherine’s Point. He knew the defendant, and on Saturday afternoon, when searching the village if Niton for smuggled brandy, and when passing the defendant’s house, he saw him burying bottled spirits in the garden. A boy handed the bottles from a basket to the defendant, who placed them in the earth. Witness immediately jumped over the hedge, clapped the defendant on the shoulder, and said “What are you doing, old fellow?” He took the defendant into his house, and he there gave up to him (witness) three jars containing four gallons of brandy. He afterwards gave him into custody.- The defendant was fined £100 and £1 10s costs.

Richard Russell, master butcher, Niton, was charged with a similar offence. Mr Hooper appeared for the defendant. – William Hale, chief boatman at the Coast Guard Station, St. Catherine’s Point, said that on the afternoon of Saturday the 29th ult., as they were searching each house in Niton for smuggled spirits. He found four tubs concealed in a ditch within the defendant’s garden, and which were covered over by the three sacks produced. Three of the tubs were full of brandy and one empty. He did not see the defendant at the time he found the tubs, but he sent his (defendant’s) son for his father. It was some time before he came. The garden is attached to the house and is about 50 yards in length, and the ditch at the lower part of the garden is filled with water. The tub produced is one of those found in the ditch. When the defendant came he claimed the sacks as his, and ordered him to drop them. The defendant said the tubs did not belong to him.- Mr Herod, the chief officer, corroborated the evidence of the last officer, and deposed to giving the defendant into the custody of Constable Thorn.- P.C. Thorn said about half past three o’clock in the afternoon of Saturday 29th ult., the defendant was given into his custody in the presence of his wife, and charged with being in possession of smuggled goods, when he said “Oh, it’s a pretty thing to say I’ve got brandy in my garden.” His wife said “I begged you not to have anything to do with the stuff. I told you what would happen.” Defendant’s only reply was a grunt.- Mr Holmes deposed to receiving the tubs found in the defendant’s garden, and on testing were found to be 47 7/10th overproof. The tubs contained nine gallons of brandy, which were equal to 13 gallons proof.- Mr Hooper, on behalf of his client, produced a plan of the garden, and he called two witnesses to show that the garden hedge was broken down low, and full of gaps, and open to the public.- The defendant was also fined £100 and 30s costs, on in default six months imprisonment at Winchester. – The court was densely crowded during the hearing of the above case, and mostly by residents from the southern and western parts of the Island. The fines and costs were paid before the Court rose.


Hampshire Telegraph – 6 December 1876

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS.- Saturday – Before F.W.Popham, Esq., (chairman), Sir Graham  Hammond Greene, Bart., C.Brett, J. Coape, J. Snowden Henry and J Mitchell, Esqs.

POACHING. James Cooper, of Brixton, an old offender, was charged with breach of the “Poaching Act.” – Police-Sergeant Ransome said on the 24th ult., as he was on duty at the Chillerton-road, Ventnor, he met the prisoner; and, observing that his pockets were rather bulky, he stopped him, and asked what he had in his pockets. On searching them he found in on pocket three rabbits, which were quite warm, and in the other pockets several nets. – The prisoner was fined £5 and 7s 6d costs; and, in default, one months imprisonment, with hard labour. – The prisoner was next summoned for being in possession of wreckage. – Mr. W F Holmes, the Collector of Customs at Cowes, prosecuted. – P.C. Phillpott said that on Thursday last, while he was on duty on the military road near Brixton, he saw the defendant and followed him. The defendant, on observing that he was being followed, stopped at a gate, and, after pretending to look over it, he took a bottle out of his pocket, and threw it into the hedge. He then walked on. Witness called him back, and in his presence took the bottle of wine produced from the hedge. He charged him with stealing it from the wreck of the Amarant. – The defendant was fined 5s and 7s 6d costs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 17 October 1877

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS.- SATURDAY – Before T.Leach, Esq., (Chairman), Admiral Crozier, and B.T.Cotton, Esq. The last named magistrate took his seat on the bench for the first time since his appointment.

SMUGGLING. David Cotton, mariner, Brixton, who was remanded last Saturday on a charge of smuggling, was again brought up in custody charged with being found in possession of a stray warp used for smuggling purposes.- Mr. Robert Henderson, Collector of Customs prosecuted, and Mr. Douglas Ford appeared for the prisoner.- George French, chief boatman of the coastguard station. St Catherine’s said that early on the morning of Friday 5th October, his attention was called to a small fishing boat sailing towards the east. He ordered a boat to be launched, and on getting alongside the vessel, he, with three others, went on board, where they found the stray warp produced, which was lying partly on deck and partly in the hole of the vessel. The prisoner, who was the only man on board, was lying drunk on the deck. The vessel was in a dangerous position, having struck the rocks at Puckerstone Point, it was then filling with water and shortly afterwards it became a total wreck. The stray warp, which has 78 stops, was such as was used for sinking and raising tubs, and it appeared to have been recently used, as it was wet. He ordered the prisoner to be taken into custody and had him carried from the vessel into the Coast Guard boat. When the prisoner became sober he said he did not care a --------, as the tubs were alright. The wreck was subsequently examined and in it was found the stone with a rope round it, which he now produced, and which was such as was used for the purpose of sinking ropes and tubs. The prisoner told him the John Chambers, of Yarmouth, was in the vessel with him before it struck. The two board produced were part of the wreck, and on one of them are painted the words, in white, “The Cloud of Cowes”- The witness underwent a severe cross-examination as to the use of the stray warp, particularly as to whether it could be used for trawling.- John Petty, boatman, who had accompanied the last witness on board, in giving corroborative evidence, said the rope in question was devised for running goods, such as tubs, and was not fitted for fishing, as there were too many stops upon it, and too closely placed.- Thomas Hunter, chief officer of the Coast Guard, East Cowes, and John Hayman, chief boatman of the Coast Guard Station, deposed as to the use of the rope.- The former stated he had frequently seen such ropes as the one in question on board smuggling vessels.- Mr Ford, after addressing the Bench on behalf of his client, called George Barton, fisherman, of Portsmouth, who said he had 35 years experience as a fisherman, and had found during that period ropes with stops, similar to the one now shown to him in use among fishermen when fishing on stony ground, he had made use of ropes having from 40 to 50 stops on them.- In reply to the Chairman, he said he could not say the stops on his rope were as close as those on the rope produced.- The Chairman said the Magistrates were bound to convict the prisoner. Although he was liable to a penalty of £100, he would only be fined £10 and £4 15s 5d costs, in all £14 15s 5d.

John Chambers, fisherman, Yarmouth, was next charged with having been on board the vessel Cloud on the morning of the 5th October for the purpose of smuggling.- The first witness was David Cotton, the prisoner in the last case, who stated that Chambers had been employed on board the Cloud with him, and that he left the vessel in a small boat when it struck. He could not say in which direction he went.- After two witnessed had deposed to the prisoner landing at Luccombe, near Shanklin, in a boat bearing his own name at eight o’clock on the morning of the 5th inst., the case was dismissed.


Hampshire Telegraph – 14 November 1877

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS.- Saturday – Before F.W.Popham, Esq., (Chairman), Colonel Atherley, T.Leach, J Coape, and W Glyn, Esqs.

WRECKAGE CASES. William Trent, mariner, of Brixton, was summoned for being in unlawful possession of wreck.- Mr. Cooper appeared for the Collector of Customs at Cowes, who is Receiver of Wreck for the Island.- Mr.Robert Henderson said he was Collector of Customs at Cowes and Receiver of Wreck. On the 30th ult., from information received, he went to Brixton, and, accompanied by Mr. Kennedy, Master of the Coastguard Station, they went to Chilton Farm, and on entering the barn he saw 15 planks of wood, marked with red chalk at the ends of each, and also a piece a wood on which was painted the name “Jessie Meek”, the latter which seemed to have been knocked a good deal about in the water. On one of the planks he made out the words “Kong Carlad”. The planks he saw in the barn were similar to a heap of fur planks he saw on the shore.- Mr Thomas Kennedy, Master of Coastguard Station, Brixton, stated that early on the 27th ult., on going down to the shore, he saw that a considerable number of planks had floated on to the shore, and he ordered all hands at the station to commence bringing them up, and while they were so engaged he saw a number of the residents of the district at each end of the station carrying planks from the shore. He had been able to collect 118 planks, all similarly marked to the one produced, which must have been the cargo of a ship which had been wrecked. The value of each plank is about 1s 3d.- Thomas Baker, Coastguard boatman at Brixton, said that on the 3oth ult., he went to the house of the defendant at Chilton-green, and in the garden he found ten planks of wood, which seemed to have newly been taken out of the water.- P.C. Tucker deposed to accompanying the last witness to the defendant’s house and taking possession of the planks in question.- Trent, in his defence, said he picked up the planks on the shore for the purpose of using them as fire wood, just as he had frequently done before.- He was fined 10s, and 7s 6d costs, and 25s, the double value of the planks; in all £2 2s 6d.

Henry Brien, Brixton, pleaded guilty to having in his possession five planks of the same kind of wood, and fined 10s and 7s 6d costs, with the double value of the planks; in all £1 10s.

Robert Salter, of Brixton, was also summoned for having on his premises several planks of the same sort of wood, but as the evidence was of a indefinite character, the case was dismissed.


Hampshire Telegraph – 4 September 1878

SERIOUS CHARGE OF SMUGGLING AGAINST TRADESMAN. – George Cooper, grocer and butcher, of Brixton, was charged with having smuggled foreign manufactured tobacco in his possession. – Mr Henderson, Collector of Customs, prosecuted, and Mr Joyce defended the prisoner. – George French said he was the Chief Acting Boatman at the St Catherine’s Coastguard Station and on last Thursday he had occasion to consult his commander, who instructed him to proceed to Brixton and search the shop of Mr Cooper. On entering the defendant’s shop he found he was absent, but he asked Mrs. Cooper if she had any smuggled tobacco on the premises and when she said there was no smuggled tobacco on the premises, he asked her to show him all the tobacco there was on the premises, when she produced some English tobacco, and afterwards she took out from the lower drawer the foreign manufactured tobacco produced, which weighed 13 lbs. The defendant returned home at two o’clock p.m., and on speaking to him about the tobacco, he said he bought it of a dealer at Ventnor, but would not give the name of the person of whom he bought it. He charged the prisoner with being in charge of foreign manufactured tobacco, and took him into custody. – By Mr Joyce: He had been stationed one year and eight months at St. Catherine’s Point Station, and had considerable knowledge in regard to the different kinds of tobacco. Mrs Cooper had some rolled tobacco of English manufacture in her possession, which she readily produced, but she was rather reluctant to produce the smuggled tobacco, which she took from a lower drawer. – William Dibble said he was a Commissioned Boatman stationed at Reith Coastguard Station, St Catherine’s, and on Thursday last he accompanied the last witnesses to the shop of the prisoner at Ventnor, which they searched, and found the 13 lbs of smuggled tobacco produced. – Mr Henderson, Collector of Customs for the Isle of Wight, said the tobacco in question was valued at £5 4s. – The prisoner was fined £10 8s, being double the value of the tobacco and £2 9s costs – total £12 17s. (The same Newspaper also included 2 cases of keeping a dog without a licence, prosecuted by Mr J Robinson, Supervisor of the Inland Revenue, which at that time the included Excise Department, who had the duty of controlling such matters.)    


Hampshire Telegraph – 16 June 1884

DEATH OF MR WILLIAM DEAR. We are sorry to have to record the sudden death of Mr William Dear, for many years Collector of Customs at this port, and a man highly esteemed in his official as well as public life. He had been in his usual health of late, but on Monday morning at breakfast he complained of a pain in his chest. After breakfast he went to the w.c. and being gone for a long time, some one went and tapped at the door, but no answer was returned, and on looking through the window he was seen lying on the floor. Help was at once obtained, and the door forced, but he only lived a minute or two after being found. Disease of the heart was considered to be the cause of death. Mr William Dear was for 10 years Collector of Customs at Cowes, and then removed to Lancaster, and afterwards to Ireland, after which he retired from the service, and was staying at Cowes on a visit at the time of his death.


Hampshire Telegraph – 26 December 1886

COWES CUSTOMS PROMOTION:- Mr. John Farrow, outdoor officer, second class, has been promoted to first class.


Hampshire Telegraph – 4 June 1887

Saturday.- Before F. White-Popham, Esq, (Chairman) and a full Bench of Magistrates.

SMUGGLING. – Charles Dimmick, George Standford, William Baker, Thomas Hayter and George Ford seamen on board the yacht Beatrix, lying at Cowes, were charged with smuggling tobacco (shag) and cigars. Mr Edward Corbay, the Collector of Customs, prosecuted. The Court was crowded during the hearing of this case.- Edward Southcotte said he was an Examiner of Customs at Cowes and on arrival of the yacht Beatrix at Cowes from Malta he went on board her for the purpose of making a search, and when so employed he found secreted amongst the firewood placed just underneath the cabin the tobacco &c., produced. The tobacco when found was loosely wrapped up, but it was all carried into the cabin, and each defendant claimed his own. Dimmick had 10 lbs. of tobacco and 2 lbs of cigars, of the value, including duty, of £3 16s; Sandford had 10½ lbs of tobacco and 2 lbs of cigars, of the value of £5 3s 9d; Baker had 10 lbs. cavendish tobacco, value £3 5s; Hayter had 11 lbs. of tobacco, value £3 7s 6d; and Ford had 4 lbs. value £2 18s 8d. All the defendants pleaded guilty. Ford was fined £1 and 12s 6d costs, and the others all £3 and 12s 6d costs. The fines were paid. Mr Southcotte in answer to the Chairman, said he allowed each man to retain about ¾ lb tobacco.


Hampshire Telegraph – 27 August 1887

SMUGGLING ON BOARD THE ROYAL YACHT. The Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert, has long borne the reputation, whether justly or unjustly we do not pretend to say, of being a noted smuggler, in fact almost as black a sheep as the notorious old Dasher, whose generally shady character was a by word throughout the service. As our readers are aware, the yacht has been lying in Cowes Roads during the stay of Her Majesty at Osborne, and on Tuesday evening some of the crew, who, by the way, are men of impeachable character, landed at Cowes with the innocent object of taking the steamer for Portsmouth, to pass the night within the peaceful havens of their homes. It might have been supposed that their characters would have saved them from the annoyance, inconvenience, and delay of interference at the hands of the vulgar protectors of Her Majesty’s Revenue. But the officials of Cowes Custom House are a hawk-eyed and meddlesome lot, and so when the gallant yachtsmen stepped from their boat to the jetty they were questioned and cross-questioned, and otherwise most unkindly treated by the outdoor officers of Customs, who wound up searching them. As the result of this shocking treatment, there was very soon a heap consisting of over 40lbs. of cigars and tobacco piled up on the pontoon, and seven yachtsmen were accused of the crime of smuggling, and will in all probability have to appear at Newport next Bench day, when they will, of course, be able to prove their innocence to demonstration. As it is they will have to answer the charge of carrying and conveying the tobacco and cigars with intent to defraud the revenue. They are now on board the yacht as prisoners at large, Captain Fullerton undertaking to surrender them on return of the vessel from Flushing, wither she proceeds on Saturday. It is said that regretful glances bestowed by the accused upon the contraband weed as they saw it ruthlessly bundled off to the office were sufficient to melt the heart of any but a Custom House Officer.


Hampshire Telegraph – 18 January 1889

COWES CUSTOMS PROMOTION:- Mr. Wallace G. Caws, has been promoted from second to first class boatman at this port.


Hampshire Telegraph – 12 September 1891

NEWPORT. Before Sir Barrington Simeon, Bart. (Chairman), and other Justices.

SMUGGLING AT COWES. Robert Pearn, of Southampton, steward of the yacht Titonia, R.Y.S. was charged with smuggling: and Charles Wilson, assistant steward, and John Barnett, living at Cowes, were charged with being concerned in the transaction.- Mr. Hooper appeared for Barnett.- Mr. Stewardson, Collector of Customs at Cowes prosecuted.- On the 31st ult. Wallace G. Caws, a boatman in the Customs, saw Wilson in the street at Cowes carrying a parcel. He asked him what it contained, and he said he did not know. On examination the parcel was found to contain 10lbs of foreign manufactured Cavendish tobacco.- Wilson stated that he had fetched it from Barnett’s house, and on afterwards going there found another parcel containing 8lbs of the same kind of tobacco.- Inquiries were made, and it was ascertained Barnett’s wife was a laundress, and that Pearn, the steward had sent the parcels of tobacco there in a basket of linen, stating they were to be kept until called for.- Pearn now admitted all liability in the matter: Wilson and Barnett were discharged, Pearn was ordered to pay double value and duty, £11 14s, with 13s 2d costs.


Hampshire Telegraph – 22 October 1892

NEWPORT. Saturday.- Before Francis White-Popham, Esq. (Chairman), General the Hon. Somerset J. Gough Calthorpe, Admiral de Horsey, Colonel Crozier, R.T.A. Grant, Esq., G. Shedden, Esq., C. Hilton Seely, Esq., Arthur A.H.Atherley, Esq.

SMUGGLING ON A TRINITY VESSEL.- John Taylor, leading fireman on the Trinity store vessel Triton, pleaded guilty to smuggling 54 pounds of Tobacco.- Mr. George Taylor, Collector of Customs, prosecuted.- William Thomas Stokes, Preventive Officer, said he had searched the vessel and found the tobacco concealed in the fore peak. Prisoner admitted the tobacco was his. Mr. Taylor said the treble value and duty for which the Commissioners sued, amounted to £52 13s. The single value and duty was £17 11s. Seeing that the vessel was a Government ship, he was instructed to ask for the treble value and duty.- Prisoner had been in custody for a week, and Superintendent Gasper, of the Trinity House, East Cowes, said that he had 20 year’s service, and bore an excellent character. Prisoner had a wife and six children.- Mr Taylor said the vessel came from Alderney, where the tobacco was bought at 1s a pound, but on coming into this country was liable to 4s 6d per pound duty. It was, of course, a great temptation, but as the man was in a position of trust, the Commissioners felt they had to ask for the full penalty.- It was stated that the prisoner had been dismissed the service, thereby losing his pension.- The Chairman said they regretted they were obliged to fine the prisoner the double-value and duty, amounting to £35 2s, and the bench expressed the hope that, taking into consideration prisoner’s long service, the Trinity House would reinstate him. He hoped the recommendation would be forwarded to the proper quarter. The alternative was a month’s imprisonment with hard labour.


Hampshire Telegraph – 19 August 1893

REGATTA AT RYDE. A successfully conducted regatta was held on Thursday in brilliant weather off Ryde Pier, and attracted thousands of spectators. The breeze was light for sailing craft, but in the other events the contests were keen and exciting ……… Four-oared race for service boats: 1. Gertrude, Customs Cowes; 2. Nellie, Fishbourne; 3. Britannia, East Cowes ……… In the evening the pier and approaches were illuminated with innumerable Chinese lanterns and fairy lights.


Pall Mall Review – 28 February 1898

YACHTING. Her Majesty the Queen has most graciously permitted the following alteration in the red ensign of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, namely “to remove the crown from the centre of the Jack to the fly of the ensign and place the letters V.R. underneath.” The Lords of the Admiralty have issued their warrant for the above change.

Yachtsmen returning from foreign cruising can now have their craft visited and cleared by Customs at Ryde, as a station has now been established for this purpose. This station, however, will not be continued after the present season unless advantage is taken of it.

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