Film ID:
YFA 3516



Visitor Tabs


This is a fictional film made by a Huddersfield based filmmaker Ernest Taylor.  It is based on the career of a petty thief who operated in the Huddersfield area during the 1940s.  The actors include friends and family who helped in the production.   

Titles:   ‘None of the characters in this film relate to any living person, any resemblance is purely coincidental.  Grateful thanks are extended to the Chief Constable Borough Police and all ladies and gentleman who have assisted in any capacity.’  ‘Characters:  The Criminal – Norman Royson.  Police Inspector  –  Norma Woodcock.  Ex-National Serviceman  –  Geoffrey Sutcliffe. Policewoman – Shirley Taylor’  ‘Produced by Ernest Taylor.’ 

The film opens outside Huddersfield Police Station where a man dressed in military uniform stops and talks to a police officer who has just driven up in a car.   

Intertitle: ‘After completing my National Service I would like to join the Police Force.’   

They enter the station, and a group of police officers, including three women officers, gather around a notice board to look at a notice going up.  It has the headline ‘Stolen’.  One of the women officers takes some papers into a police chief who is joined by the army man and the police officer.   

Intertitle: ‘Arrange for Police Training … when discharged.’  

The army man leaves and the police officer and sits down to talk with the chief.  

Intertitle: ‘This safe breaking looks like the work of one man.’   

The chief hands some photos to the officer, and some women officers leave the police station. 

In the next scene, two men are inspecting some demolished buildings. They look at plans in relation to the site and then walk off.  On a sunny day a woman comes out of a house with two children, and they are joined by a little girl who has just greeted her returning father (one of the men at the building site).   

Intertitle: ‘The plans are finished dear and I’ll soon have enough money to start building.’   

The family return to their house before the man leaves again.  He walks past a graveyard and up an empty street.  The church clock shows 6.30.  He stops at a corner, peers around, waits until someone has passed, and then hastily makes his way into an office.  Wearing white gloves, the man takes the key for the safe out of a box and opens the safe.  He takes some money out before leaving, trying to avoid being seen.  He hides behind a wall waiting for a police officer to pass by. 

Sign:  ‘Pannal Ash Police Training Centre’.   

At the training centre the new recruit from the army is in a class.  Later he is with a group of recruits doing exercises in a gym.  The instructor demonstrates an arm lock and other manoeuvres on the new trainee.  Then all the new recruits eat in the canteen, smarten themselves up in the dormitory, and then marching on parade.  They line up for inspection, and the police inspector stops to talk to the new recruit from the army.


The new recruit is directing traffic.  At a nearby pub, a man demonstrates a rope trick to a group of men and women sitting around a table.  At this point the safe thief enters the pub, takes a seat, lights a cigarette and has a drink.  He offers a light to the woman next to him, an off-duty woman police officer, and leaves.  Back at his house he joins his two sons feeding chickens outside.  They take a bucket full of eggs back to the house.  The man goes into his workroom where he takes a key from a large selection hanging above his bench and files it down.  He leaves the house and makes his way across a field.  His journey is intercut with a view over Huddersfield from a hill.  He enters a building, with the church clock again showing 6.30, rifles through a filing cabinet and a writing bureau before finding the safe keys and robbing the safe. 

Next two policeman, one of them the new army recruit, emerge from a police box in the city centre.  A man is carrying a bag walks along the street.  He is watched by a group of men sitting on the side.  Back in the pub the safe thief again drops in for a drink, and offers a drink and a cigarette to the woman he offered a light to before.  He then flashes a bundle of money when he pays, which the woman notices.  After he leaves, the woman mentions this to her friend.  When the police officer, wearing civilian clothes, comes in for a drink the woman tells him what she has seen and they depart.  Outside the newspaper hoarding states, ‘Safe Breaker Strikes Again’.  The police officer and woman stop to ask the new recruit if he has seen the man, and then enter the police box.

Intertitle: ‘A few days later.’   

The safe thief is walking along with the surveyor and they meet two women pushing cycles, one of them the woman police officer.   

Intertitle: ‘Hello, do you live about here.’   

The safe thief points his house out to the women.  The men drive off in a car, and the women cycle to a phone box and ring the police station.  Dispatch radios two police cars, and the new recruit makes his way back the police station.  The safe thief enters a house, finds some keys in a jacket and opens the safe, and steals money and jewellery before leaving by the back door.  A group of police make their way to the squad cars, and are given instructions.  The new recruit, in civilian clothes, leaves the police station with a police officer and drives off leading the other police cars.  They stop by a field and keep watch behind trees.  The safe thief walks past, and after a struggle with the policemen and new recruit, is apprehended.  They find the stolen money on him, and the thief is taken off in handcuffs while the film shows images of the sky, clouds, and the sun setting.   

The final scene of the film shows a police parade and inspection attended by the mayor.  Again, the police inspector stops to talk to the new and the woman police officer.  The safe thief is seen languishing in a police cell, shouting to the skies and tearing at his hair.  The film ends.