March 27, 1926
A remarkable story was told at Motherwell Police Court to-day in a case in which a warrant was granted for the apprehension of Thomas Reid, a professional football player, the centre forward of Clydebank Football Club.
It was stated that the warrant would not be put into execution unless Reid failed to appear in Court on April 5th.
Reid was cited to appear along with his brother, James Reid, in connection with a charge which had been hanging over the two lads since November, 1923.
This morning Thomas Reid did not answer to his name, but his brother James attended, and also his father.
Asked where Thomas was, the father stated that the lad was away at Dundee. This was supplemented later by the information that the wanted lad was the Clydebank centre forward.
The circumstances of the charge, as related to the Court, had some peculiar features.
In November, 1923, the footballer’s younger brother James fell into evil ways, and in the course of a few weeks committed two acts of theft from Motherwell shops, the method adopted being to reach over the counter in the temporary absence of the shopkeeper and rifle the till.
At one shop, a restaurant in Muir Street, the sum of £7 was extracted in this way, and in another case 21s. At a third attempt of the same nature young Reid was caught red-handed, and the two previous thefts were traced to him.
Money to be repaid.
The football Reid came in to the astonishing train of circumstances at this point through a statement made by the younger brother to the effect that he had given his brother Tom £3 of the money he had got in the shops.
Tom was charged with reset of £3, and he admitted it – this was early in 1924 – and explaining that he did not know where his brother got the money.
James pleaded guilty to the theft, and the Magistrate at that time deferred sentence on the understanding that the two lads were to repay the money to the shopkeeper.
Six months were at first allowed, but at the end of that period only part of the money had been repaid, and the case was hung up for another six months, and this process was repeated time after time. The position to-day is that there is a balance of £3 10s. 6d still to be paid.
Reid’s father told the Court to-day that his son Tom, the footballer had paid him £3.
The Fiscal suggested that one earning the wages of a professional footballer might well have repaid the whole sum, his brother’s share as well.
The superintendent of police explained that the arrangement was that the accused were to repay the money to the shopkeepers, but the footballer had paid the £3 to Reid senior; the money had not reached the shopkeepers.
The father explained that he had had a lot of trouble recently, and on that account he had not been able to pay the money.
The Fiscal warned the father that, if what he said was true – that he had got this money to pay the shopkeepers, and he failed to do so – he also was laying himself open to a charge of reset. He warned him also that unless the money was paid within a week there would be a sentence of imprisonment.
The father remarked that the Court should have imprisoned them right away.
“It will be you who will be sent to prison,” retorted the Fiscal, as he reminded the father that the original case was called at the Juvenile Court, and the father himself was liable to be sent to prison for the boy.
A warrant was granted for Thomas Reid’s arrest, and the case against both lads was continued for a week, the Court strongly recommending that the money be paid in the interval.
A piquant circumstance with regard to the Court proceedings to-day was that Mr. Thomas Ormiston, who is a Director of the Motherwell Football Club, was the acting Prosecutor-Fiscal for the day.
(Sunday Post: March 28, 1926)