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Article from Leicester Journal 17 August 1852
Conspiracy to Obtain Money
by Fraudulent Means

Wallis's Mill, formerly Clarke's Carpet Mill, rebuilt in 1876 following a fire

It will be seen by our police report of Monday last, that the borough magistrates have resolved to send Sarah Wykes and George Clarke for trial at the Sessions, on a charge of conspiracy to obtain money by fraud.

The particulars of the case are briefly as follows: Some time ago Mr Clarke, carpet manufacturer of Burton Latimer, near Kettering, died, leaving several children in indigent cirumstances. Mr S Viccars, woolstapler, of this town, who had been acquainted with Mr Clarke, took some steps to serve the children, and headed a subscription in their favour.

One of them was placed in an Asylum for Orphans, near London, and another, a boy about 14 years of age, has since been obtaining money under pretence of raising a fund to place a younger brother in the same asylum. This youth is the George Clarke mentioned above. Taking the kindness of Mr Viccars as a guide he had an appropriate document drawn up, and placed Mr Viccar's name down with "5s" opposite. Several other names were put down, with various sums opposite, and Miss Wykes, a woman of respectable appearance, dressed in mourning, called upon other persons to solicit subscriptions, in which she succeeded at several places.

When it was found that Mr Viccars's signature was forged, and that he had not given his sanction to this plan for raising money, Miss Wykes, in reply to questions put to her, said she had paid the money she had received to George, and he had given it to "Mr Gardiner". She said she did not know Mr Gardiner; she had had notes from him, but had unfortunately burnt them. George said Mr Gardiner was a trimmer, and lived at Belgrave, and that he (George) worked for him.

In reply to questions put by the police, the answers varied very materially, and it would seem that the whole story about Mr Gardiner is a fabrication, as no such person can be found either at Belgrave or in any of the other places the youth has mentioned as his place of residence or business.

This subscription list was not the only means used to obtain money. A letter was written to the parish officers of Burton Latimer, signed as if by Mr Thomas Viccars, offering to take the boy George as an apprentice, on the payment of a premium of £10. It was requested that an answer, with part of the premium, might be sent at once, as Mr Viccars was about to leave home for a month; and another letter purporting to be written by the Rev J Wing, but which was also a forgery, was used for the purpose of attempting to obtain money. The answer to Mr Viccars's letter was to be directed to "Thomas Viccars, Post Office, Belgrave."

Miss Wykes, who is the aunt of George Clarke, professed to know nothing of the dishonesty of the attempt to obtain money, but admitted that she had had a portion of the sum raised.

We do not wish to say a word that could prejudice Miss W's case, but we trust the most searching inquiry will be made before the Sessions, and that, if guilty, both defendants may be punished according to their deserts.

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