While investigating a breaking and entering offence which had occurred at a cottage at Bovingdon, a police constable was handed a button found on the floor.

Quite by chance, as he left the premises, he stopped a passer-by and “by remarkable coincidence” noticed that a button was missing from the overcoat worn by the passer-by, said Mr D.T. Thorne, prosecuting at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

Further examination by the officer, PC Michael Lane, revealed that the button in his possession in fact matched the others on the overcoat, added Mr Thorne.

Confronted with this evidence, the passer-by -  JJ, 22, a labourer, of no fixed abode - later made a statement admitting breaking into [the property] and stealing items valued at £35, it was stated.

JJ was sent for trial at Herts Quarter Sessions and PC Lane was commended by the magistrates for “an exceptionally fine piece of police work”.

[From the Watford Observer of January 17, 1958]

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