MAGISTRATE’S WARNING FOR TREASURE HUNTERS ON THE PROWL

 

The Treasure Hunters Guide!
 

At 1.15 a.m. Friday 23 February 1968 in company with Captain Gilbert ‘Shore Patrol’ Pitman and another civilian, I commenced surveillance of the Motor Yacht ‘Romay’ berthed at its dock at the Sherwood Manor Hotel, Mill Creek, Pembroke Parish. The M.Y. Romay, owned by His Excellency the Governor, Lord Martonmere had, for some weeks previously, been the subject of unwanted boarding and the theft of liquor from the galley. 

 

From our concealed position within the hotel’s dance hall we had a wide view of all approaches to the Romay including the tourist cottages, gardens and waters of Mill Creek.   At 4.35 a.m. Captain Pitman drew my attention to a male figure creeping along the wall bordering the bandstand patio located in front of the cottages.  The man moved slowly and was hunched down. He lingered in the bandstand area for some 18 minutes moving from one side to another observing both the main hotel building and all of the cottages behind him. I saw the hotel night watchman – who was unaware of our presence – cross the patio on his rounds. He did not see the intruder who remained motionless and hidden behind a pillar.

In company with ‘Shore Patrol’ I left our concealed position and walked to the rear of Jones cottage. I saw a lighted bathroom window at the rear of Jones cottage. I saw no one in the bathroom.  I later saw the intruder in a crouched position – walking slowly away from the window behind a low hedge.  I watched him for some minutes and saw him again resume his crouching position near the bandstand. 

 

At no time did this man go anywhere near the M.Y. Romay.

 

At 5.20 a.m. I went to this man and said, “I am a police officer. What are you doing here?”

 

He replied, “Just sitting, aren’t I.”

 

I said, “I have been watching you for some considerable time and I believe you are prowling. Is that right?”

 

He replied. “Seven to one I wouldn’t get caught. I took a chance.”

 

I arrested and cautioned him for prowling to which he replied, “I took a chance on getting caught. I’ve been casing this place for three weeks. I’m not prowling.”

I took him inside the dance hall and learned his name was Clifford Hamilton Leach. Whilst searching his person I asked him, “What were you hoping to see sitting there?’

 

He replied, “I was looking for the treasure. Look I have the clues.”

 

He produced a slip of paper from a pocket with alleged clues written thereon.

 

I said, “I do not believe that.”

 

He replied, “Fair enough. I was looking for my mate, my brother-in-law B.C.” 

 

I said, “Is he here?”

 

Reply, “No, he didn’t come tonight.”

 

I asked, “Do you have a car?”

Reply, “It’s down the road.”

 

I accompanied Leach to his private car on Fairyland Road. It was legally parked with lights on, and some 500 yards from the hotel. Empty parking spaces in the hotel car park were plentiful.

 

When formally charged and cautioned with the offence of prowling Leach replied, “Definitely I didn’t prowl round a house.”

 

Taking the stand in his own defence Leach said he had been following the treasure hunt clues over the air and one clue, “alley route,” led him to enter the hotel premises by that route.

 

He said he was searching in a pillar on the bandstand with a comb when he heard the watchman’s footsteps. He said he remained out of sight until the watchman had passed. He was later arrested by Dc Rose.

 

Asked by Inspector Thomas Doyle, prosecuting, why he did not want to be seen, Leach said he wanted his comings and goings to be secret because he was looking for treasure.

 

He said he had all the clues and was led to Fairylands by the clue, “to tomb,” after searching in two churchyards a metal plate in one churchyard led him to Fairylands, he said.

 

Said Leach, “I put my head on a chopping block that the treasure was between two palms on the walkway of Sherwood Manor”

 

Said Mr. Maddocks, “No doubt the craze has gripped people over the island but no-one has the right to enter private property.”  He said he was prepared to accept that Leach was looking for treasure and imposed the six months conditional discharge.

 

A police official later stressed that wherever the treasure is located it is NOT on private property.

 

A spokesman for ZBM radio who are operating the hunt said the treasure was easily accessible and not on private property which would entail trespass.

 

Editors note -  

 

Although I can only vaguely recall details of this court case I was personally directly involved in it, along with my old friend and fellow colleague the Late Sgt. George Rushe.

Some of you "old timers" may remember the time when most of Bermuda's Road had finally been named, some 1200 of them,  but apart from a huge Ordnance Survey Map the public had no idea where to find the newly named roads, and that included taxi drivers, delivery drivers, and of course, emergency services - Police, Ambulance and Fire Department. I was working at the time in Operations (Traffic) on a Watch with fellow constable George Rushe, and while working on nights in the Ops Room we started a list of all the new roads together with a literal description of their location, We used the City of Hamilton as the base and described in words how to find the roads in question e.g.  "Hesitation Lane  -  Travel east along Middle Road from Hamilton, turn left onto Montpelier Road, Hesitation Lane is 2nd on the left".  We then hit on the idea of producing a little booklet which we might be able to sell to the the public.  After obtaining official approval we went ahead and published a booklet called "The Bermuda Gazeteer" which was an instant success.

We then decided to go one better and obtained permission to publish a more sophisticated booklet. complete with illustrative maps of the whole Island, and an index that included not only roads, but also hotels and guest houses, churches, restaurants, bus and ferry routes, gas stations, islands, bays, bridges and places on interest.  You will see above the front cover which was specially painted for us by the designer who produced all the 24 maps.  The booklet took about 2 years to complete and it was called "Bermuda Islands Guide - The COMPLETE  Map and Information Guide to Bermuda.

So what does this have to do with George Rose's prowler story?  Well, as a means of promoting our booklet, George and I came up with the idea of creating a weekly "Treasure Hunt" using  20 clues each week taken from our booklet. If you did not have the book you would not be able to follow the clues.  We successfully ran the Treasure Hunt for several years on ZBM and it certainly helped our sales.

Each week we would write the 20 clues that would lead the successful treasuer hunter to a small metal box in which they would find a key and a note to declare that the finder was successful in finding that week's treasure key which they would then take to ZBM to claim their reward.

At that time I was living in an apartment in Fairylands,  and wrote a series of clues which led to a hiding place near the entrance to Sherwood Manor.  We always stipulated that the key would NEVER be hidden on private property, but it seems as though this young man didn't believe it !

I should add that George Rushe was an exceptionally talented guy with a great sense of humour and always a pleasure to work with.  He went on to perform on stage with BMDS, and for several years he was the Quiz Master in the Brains of Bermuda annual general knowledge quiz shows.  Sadly, he died far too young.

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