Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

An Account of a notorious Smuggling gang in the early 18th Century

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friend, offered his advice, by which he intended to inveigle them into the snare he had laid for them. He said, since they were all alike in such desperate circumstances without any hopes of mending their condition, he would have them go with him towards London, and to his house at Beckenham in Kent, and then consult together, to go and rob upon the highway, and break open houses in the same manner as Gregory's gang used to do. Upon which they all agreed to come away together; and upon the road, amongst other talk, Mills owned that he was one of those who committed the murder of Hawkins, and both the Kemps confessed that they were concerned in robbing farmer Havendon, in the manner it was proved upon their trials.
When they were all come to his house at Beckenham, Bring then pretended that his horse being a very indifferent one, he would go to town and fetch his mare, which was a very good one, and would come back again with all convenient speed, and then they would set out together on their intended expeditions; for as their horses were very good, and his but a bad one, it might bring him into danger in case of a pursuit. Upon which he set out, and they agreed to stay at his house till his return ; but instead of going to town, he rode away to Horsham, where he applied to Mr. Kackster, an officer in the excise there; who together with seven or eight more, all well armed, set out for Beckenham, in order to take them, where they arrived in the dead of night, and found Mills and the two Kemps just going to supper upon a fine breast of veal, and secured them. They bound the arms of the two Kemps, but Mills refusing to be bound in that manner, and being very refractory, they were forced to cut him with one of their
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