At ebb tide [the barges] lie in the mud; the men in charge go ashore to drink; the boys then climb on board … If the barge is laden with sugar they cut holes in the bags and fill their pockets, their hats, their boots, their handkerchiefs with the stuff … they get a halfpenny a pound for their plunder.
O’Neill, Gilda. The Good Old Days: Poverty, Crime and Terror in Victorian London (pp. 31-32). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.