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Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 30 November 1866

ALLEGED ATTEMPT AT HIGHWAY ROBBERY.— On Saturday morning week, an attempt at highway robbery was reported to acting sergeant Shaw, of Longford, by William Holmes, foot postman between Brailsford and Longford, who stated that, as he was returning to Brailsford the previous night, between five and six o'clock, and when between Hollington and Shirley, he was stopped by two men having the appearance of tramps. They demanded a registered letter from him, which they said they had registered at Longford, containing a five pound note and two sovereigns. The postman told them he had not got a registered letter, but they insisted on looking into his bag. He then showed them the letters and convinced them he had not, at which they appeared much dissatisfied. The postman stated that they then pulled his cap over his head, and took the strap from his shoulders, with which they bound his wrists under his legs, pressed his head down to his knees, and buckled the strap at the back of his neck, completely doubling him up, in which uncomfortable position he states he remained struggling and shouting (as well as he could) for four hours, when he managed to extricate himself and proceeded on his round to Brailsford, but too late with the letters for that night's mail. The officer at once reported the case to Mr. Supt. Corbishley, at Ashbourne, and they immediately proceeded to examine the place where the outrage was said to be committed, but they could not find any signs of a struggle excepting the place where the postman said he had lain, and where he had evidently been vomiting. This caused them to direct their enquiries as to what he had been doing during the previous day, and they ascertained that he had been drinking rather freely in the afternoon, and when he reached Hollington (about half an hour before the alleged outrage), the officers learned he had been drinking elderberry wine. Mr. Corbishley then examined Holmes' wrists, but they were not the slightest discoloured, and no marks of violence were found upon him. The officers, taking into consideration that not even a letter was taken out of his possession, not a seal broken, and nothing was stolen from him, although he stated he had a silver watch and some little money in his possession (and only about 400 yards from the village of Shirley), told him they were quite satisfied no outrage had been committed upon him, but that he was overcome with too much drink and had fallen asleep, and finding himself too late for the mail, and fearing dismissal, he had raised the above report to account for his absence.

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