But her behaviour was arousing suspicion. The pub’s takings had been falling off; money seemed to be disappearing. The landlord thought Florence had been taking money from her employer.
He called the police, and two police detectives, Keys and Brooks, duly arrived. He told them of his suspicions, and they took some coins from him and marked them.
They then called into the Rising Sun, pretending to be customers, and when Florence told them how much their beer was, they passed the coins over in payment.
When the landlord came to empty the till that night, he found that two shillings and a sixpence were missing. He called Sergeant Keys to the pub, and, in front of Palmer, Keys questioned Florence.
At first, she said she didn’t know what had happened to the missing purse, and said all the money she had been paid had gone straight into the till.
She then showed the men her purse, which contained over a pound, all in unmarked coins. However, she later produced the marked coins, admitting having pocketed them after receiving payment from a customer. She was immediately taken into custody.
Florence’s case was heard in May 1894 at the Marylebone Magistrates’ Court, the prosecutor being the famous solicitor Frederick Freke Palmer.
Freke Palmer asked for her to be dealt with leniently, and Walter Dobbin, from her employers (Dobbin & Co), promised her that if she told him all about the money, “he would do his best to be lenient to her”.
However, Mr Newton, the magistrate who dealt with her, said,
“tradesmen could not carry on business if such offences were to be regarded as trivial matters.”
He sentenced Florence to 21 days hard labour.
Source: The Standard, London, 16 May 1894, p.6