The media trumpeted in 1920 that “a string of shocking murders is plaguing the country.” Newspapers particularly remarked on murders committed by burglars. Things haven’t changed.

Amid the clamour on Tuesday, January 20th, 1920, a burglar broke into the house of Reuben Mort, 78, a retired blacksmith who owned a prosperous hardware shop in Bolton, and demanded the keys to his safe. Mr. Mort remained defiant, whereupon the burglar hit him over the head, knocking him unconscious, and began ransacking the shop for the keys.

He failed to find them and, piqued, attacked Mr. Mort again, so severely that the old blacksmith died next day. His killer made off empty-handed, missing the £2,000 stashed in the safe – a very considerable sum in those days.