On the night of 22nd September 1906 James Long and Harry Groves committed a burglary at the premises of W. Cornish, watchmaker and jeweller in Fore Street, Okehampton. The two men had been staying at a cafe in West Street and were missing on the morning of the 23rd. They had taken a considerable amount of property and walked to Sampford Courtney where they boarded a train to Exeter, intending to continue their journey to London on the old Great Western.
Fortunately for the Cornishes, a fellow tradesman, Mr S. Newcombe, wine and spirit merchant in West Street, took an early train to Exeter that morning. As the train pulled into Sampford Courtney station he noticed the two men struggling with heavy suitcases. He made enquiries and found out that they had tickets to Queen Street (Central) Station, Exeter. He alerted the police and asked that they meet him at Queen Street Station. He put a flower in his buttinhole to aid identification! There he was able to point out the two men who had ordered a cab to take them to St David's Station. Detective Constable Shutler jumped into the cab with the two men and instructed the driver to go to Police Headquarters. In the cases was not only the missing jewellery but also a loaded revolver.
This long established family business continues to flourish in Okehampton despite the efforts of the criminal fraternity! The proprietors in 1993 were William J & his son William J N Cornish and family.