Theft from mines has been a consistent feature throughout the history of Cornish mining and a rather odd case was reported from Wheal Tolgus in March 1833. On the 16th February John Reynolds, one of the tributers, had raised some copper ore and left it near the shaft where he had been working. The following day some of the ore was missing but there was some evidence in the form of footprints leading 20 yards from the ore pile to a hedge; a potential clue was that some of the marks had been made by someone with a wooden leg. Near the end of the prints Reynolds found a couple of stones of ore of the same sort that he had been raising. Eventually Athanasius Bray and Augustin Seller were indicted for the crime; both were miners at Wheal Tolgus and Bray had a wooden leg. The two later admitted to the offence and were sentenced to 15 months imprisonment with hard labour, most likely at Bodmin gaol.


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