PC 112 George F. Rose 

Being outside of the ‘Montrose’ nurses’ residence on Berry Hill Road, Paget could be a busy place for off duty policemen to socialize during most evenings of the week as nurses preparing for their shift change bid goodnight to their respective dates including myself and colleagues such as Stanley Hill, Steven Petty and Mike Jent to mention but a few.

At about 11.20 p.m. on Thursday June 16th, 1966 a man walking west passed within feet of me pushing his Cyrus motorcycle with ‘gooseneck’ handlebars. I had previously encountered this man during Beach Squad duties along the South Shore Road and immediately identified him as a notorious prowler who went by the name of ‘Yogi Bear’.

Saying a hasty goodnight to my date, I rode my motorcycle past ‘Yogi’ sitting astride his stationary Cyrus with a foot on the low Bermuda stone wall at the driveway entrance to ‘Springfield Cottage’ which lay in a pitch-black hollow on the left just below the brow of Berry Hill Road. I drove on down the hill to the north roundabout and then reversed direction back up Berry Hill Road. Passing ‘Springfield’ on my right I saw the now unattended Cyrus leaning against the Bermuda stone wall. ‘Yogi’ was nowhere to be seen.

I rode on to the emergency department at the nearby King Edward Memorial Hospital where I used the dedicated 253 direct police line to contact Operations. I asked for the immediate attendance, on a silent approach, of Kilo 1 the K 9 Unit, to meet me in the layby at the top of Berry Hill. Leaving my motorcycle at KEMH I ran back to the layby and waited on their arrival.

From this concealed position I saw ‘Yogi’ emerge from the blackness of the driveway. He quickly straddled his cycle and rolled it down Berry Hill Road. Momentarily, Constables Custerfield "Custy" Crockwell and Francis "Keith" Allchin arrived in Kilo 1 together with their Alsatian canine ‘Wolf’. I spoke to them briefly without them stopping and they continued on and caught up with ‘Yogi’ who had come to a stop at the bottom of the hill just short of the roundabout where he was in the process of pouring gas into his cycle from a soda bottle.

Springfield Cottage as it is today (2018) – some 52 years later
Note the easy access to the roofs’

In his jacket pocket was found a length of cord tied at one end to a cycle mirror. The mirror was later found to fit snuggly onto ‘Yogi’s Cyrus handlebars. Constable Crockwell questioned ‘Yogi’ and despite his denials he arrested and cautioned him on suspicion of prowling. His reply was, “Yes I saw him. I’ve been pushing my cycle from Smith’s. I was not prowling. The reason I went in there was to get some gas for my bike.”

In Magistrates’ Court the following day Friday 17th June 1966, the acting senior Magistrate E. R. Raymond-Bond remanded Ethered Clyde Stanley ‘Yogi Bear’ Outerbridge, aged 30, of Curving Avenue, Pembroke in custody until the following Wednesday on a charge of theft of petrol and prowling. Enquiries continued.

At trial on Wednesday 22 June, 1966 Catherine Jane P….. a tenant of Springfield Cottage, Berry Hill Road told the court that she had been in bed in her apartment when she heard “scrambling” noises which came from either the roof or the outside of the house.

At about 11.30 p.m. she went to make some coffee when she heard a “scrabbling and rustling” noise outside. She said that she did not then report the matter to police because the dog handlers had previously agreed to visit the premises during their patrols and she believed it may have been them causing the noise. She also told the court of annoying occasions in the recent past when her cycle had unexpectedly run out of gas on her short journeys to work in the city.

After hearing evidence at trial from P.c. George Rose, P.c. C.D. Crockwell and Sgt. Kenneth Harvey, Mr. Raymond-Bond dismissed the prowling charge through lack of evidence. He jailed Outerbridge for four months however for stealing 1/6d worth of petrol from an auxiliary cycle after hearing that his previous convictions included breaking, entering and stealing, carrying an offensive weapon and prowling, for which he had received jail sentences. Outerbridge was represented by Mrs. Lois Browne-Evans.

It was later determined that ‘Yogi’s modus operandi was to lie on the roof of houses such as ‘Springfield’ and, by dangling his cycle mirror on a cord held out at arms-length, he was able to see by reflection into the lighted windows of the premises.

Awarded to P.C. 112 G.F. Rose
For keen observation when off-duty resulting in the arrest of a notorious prowler and subsequent conviction on larceny of petrol from a cycle
Dated: 28th June 1966

Tagged Under

Add comment

Security code