Foul Attack by Fowl Robber

Thanks to the Illustrated Police Times I have discovered one of the dangerous escapades endured by a policeman in Victorian Kings Lynn.

In December 1889 there were a series of thefts of chickens around the town of Kings Lynn.  Chief-Constable Ware decided something should be done.  A number of his constables dressed in plain clothes and were stationed near the places where the fowls were accustomed to roost.

PC Rayner secreted himself in one of these premises and later that evening Robert Pitcher, a carpenter entered and struck a light in front of the policeman.  He admitted his purpose was to steal a fowl and he was arrested.  However on the way to the police station, he drew a hatchet from his pocket and struck the officer, “some fearful blows upon the face.”  Bleeding profusely PC Rayner struggled with the thief and managed to blow his whistle.  Aid soon arrived and the, “brutal fellow,” was taken into custody.


  1. A nice archival discovery! Police have been getting a hard rap recently, but it's all too easy to forget what kind of risks they take to protect society.

  2. And they weren't valued properly until the end of the 19th century.