AFTER our slightly unseasonal piece last week about festive felons, we've got the stories of other young criminals who appeared in Weymouth's court to share with you this week.

It's thanks to the informative research of Susan Hogben that we can share these tales with you.

Stood before the court that Christmas week of 1862 was eight-year-old Samuel Vincent, son of George and Mary, next door neighbours to his partner in crime, Edward Denman, whose story we shared last week.

Unlike Edward though, Vincent ended up on the straight and narrow and followed in his father's footsteps, working as a sawyer, but then joined the army. Sadly, though his life was cut short. In 1878, aged only 26, he died while stationed in the barracks at Dorchester.

The final felon of the tale is 10-year-old John William Bendall. John lived just around the corner from his light fingered accomplices, at 8 Franchise Street, Weymouth, along with his dad, Matthew, and mum, Mary Ann, and the rest of the brood. John was another one who fell foul of the law more than a few times, despite spending time in prison and the reformatory. In 1865 he was incarcerated for the theft of zinc.

In 1867, he was arrested for the theft of iron from the Nothe Forth smithy shop along with his younger brother Albert. Their dad Matthew was no stranger to brushes with the law. He worked as a waterman, but was also prone to being somewhat light fingered. Not only that, for some reason he was very unpopular amongst his fellow workers. So much so that in 1888 he even attempted to cut his own throat, part of the reason given was that he was “being so much annoyed by his mates on the quay.”

The sentences doled out to Edward, Samuel and John that Christmas week of 1862 was a flogging - each of them receiving 12 painful lashes of the whip.

*Sue Hogben's book Nothe Fort and Beyond in Defence of Weymouth and Portland is about the military in Weymouth but also contains stories of Weymouth and Portland families, tales of the harsh conditions for the convicts and local quarrymen in the Portland dust bowls and much more. It can be bought from Amazon.