IT was an expensive pint of milk - but not customers.

A furious Alfred Harbert stormed out of court, slamming local justice following a commotion with his horse and cart in Southampton. He had been summoned in 1914 under the little known regulation of causing an obstruction in New Road at such a distance that he could exercise proper control over it.

Pc James Mack told magistrates how he was travelling on a morning tram service to the Clock Tower when the horse suddenly strolled across the vehicle's path. Alighting, he could not initially find anyone in charge of it.

"It had been left unattended and had no strap upon the wheel," he explained. "It strayed across the metals and there was very nearly an awful accident. I got off the tramcar and tried to find the owner who I discovered further up the road delivering milk."

The officer approached Harbert to stress his concern but he retorted "Well, what about it?"

Mack warned him of the potential implications. "When I added that he might be reported, he said 'I can do anything I like."

Harbert adopted the same stance when he appeared before magistrates. Pleading not guilty, he said he had only just got off the cart to make a delivery to a regular customer but eventually accepted the horse had meandered across the road in the face of the oncoming tram and he wasn't nearby.

Daily Echo:

A similar charge was also brought against Sidney Collins, who lived in Paynes Road, Shirley, and was accused of causing an obstruction in Holt Road.

Collins conceded he had left his horse unattended for 45 minutes as he waited to see a customer over an unpaid account. Apologising, he told the court: "I'm sorry I was so long but it took longer than I thought."

Readers of the Hampshire Independent were informed that Collins was "mulcted," an old expression meaning he was ordered to pay costs. Both men were fined £5.

The other case of interest that same day concerned fish and chip shop owner George Waite who was summoned for allowing his chimney in Orchard Lane to catch fire. Waite did not appear in court because he had been hurt trying to put it out.

Instead, his wife spoke up for him, saying it had been an unfortunate accident. "A pan of oil took fire in the blaze which followed. My husband was injured and he has been under the doctor ever since.