This week 60 years ago: Finsbury Park man boasts to court about his ‘long and distinguished criminal career’

Islington Gazette: November 15, 1957

Islington Gazette: November 15, 1957 - Credit: Archant

A Finsbury Park man was hauled before the courts after telling the government on his National Insurance form: “I don’t need these cards – I haven’t worked for 14 months. I get my living by thieving.”

Henry Corke, of Durham Road, found himself in front of Highbury Corner magistrates for failing to pay National Insurance contributions.

Corke, who pleaded not guilty, said he had been a thief for 14 months after losing his job. “I have had a long and distinguished criminal career,” he boasted to the court.

H Thomas, counsel for the Ministry of National Insurance, told the court: “Thieving may be regarded by the person pursuing it as an occupation, but I can assure you that as regards National Insurance regulations, it is not.”

Frank Milton, the confused magistrate, asked Mr Corke: “This is really your defence – you say you get your living thieving?”

“Yes, sir,” Mr Corke replied.

He was given three months to pay a £2 fine.