Cross Lane in Salford was once a busy, bustling thoroughfare with 18 pubs, three music halls, an Army Barracks, an open market, shops galore and one of the largest open cattle markets in the country, hard to believe if you drive or walk along it today.
November 1920 and Emily Johnson was helping out at her Grandmother's tripe shop at 26 Cross Lane, James Smith and Samuel Royle came into the shop and ordered some pigs trotters, they stood at the counter and began to eat them, as Emily came out of the kitchen area, she saw Smith leaning over the counter, he asked for some trotters and was served with them.
Just then a young boy came into the shop to tell her that the coal delivery had arrived and she had to go in to the back so that they could drop the coal in the yard which she did.
Coming back into the shop she was horrified to see Smith behind the counter tampering with the cash drawer, she rushed to the shop door and asked a passer-by to call the police as she was being robbed, they tried to push her aside but she blocked the doorway.
They then ran through the kitchen into the yard pursued by Emily, who managed to drag Smith to the ground, after a struggle he managed to escape, with Royle opening the back door for them to get away.
However this isn't the end of the story you may be pleased to hear.
By a simple twist of fate (courtesy of Bob Dylan) the two men were arrested a few days later for attempting to steal a half hundred weight of currants from a parked lorry on Oldfield Road but were seen by a Mrs Ogden who raised the alarm and gave the police such a good description they were arrested the same day and taken to the local police station.
Who was in the police station? none other than the coal delivery boy who recognised the two men who had stolen the six shillings from the tripe shop and they were charged with this offence as well as the attempted theft of the currants.
They appeared before Mr. C. C. Goodwin at Salford Magistrates Court and it was revealed that both men had numerous convictions for theft.
Detective Sgt, Needham told the court that. Smith was
"One of the worst characters in Salford, and never does anything but look for trouble and hasn't worked for two and a half years since leaving the army and lives on his pension of £2, five shilling a week"
This seemed to strike a chord with the Magistrate who said that this matter of his pension would be investigated and then gave them both six months imprisonment with hard labour.
A harsh sentence, possibly but these two chaps do appear to be petty criminals with not a care in the world, no idea if Smith's army pension was stopped, be the final slap in the face for him if it was.