Pineapple theft: When stealing a pineapple got you seven years of hard labor

How  do you like them pineapples?  Probably not enough to risk seven years of hard labor for the crime of pineapple theft.

pineapple theft 18th century


People in 17th and 18th century Europe liked them pineapples very very much.

The craze for “King Pine”  was lead, appropriately enough, by royalty. Charles II of England even used them as a public relations gimmick.

The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1764 estimated that it cost £80 (about £9,300 now) to build a hothouse that could produce 150 pineapple plants a year; another £50 (£5,819) for the plant stock, plus £21 annual running costs.

(That initial £80 was the price of a new coach.)

If you couldn’t afford your own, there was a thriving pineapple rental market.

Or you could turn to pineapple theft.

The image from Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1st July 1807, shows a court case for a Mr Godding accused of having stolen seven pineapples.


The final verdict is given on the case:

I can’t help but wonder what verdict Mr. Godding would have received without a character witness?

For the full story of the apprehension of Mr Godding, try The Curious Archaeologist.


Below, Mr Moon (1761) is accused of stealing pineapples, supposedly giving one to a lady friend.

The lady certainly seems to have been very appreciative.


pineapple theft 18th century Mr Moon




Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website or Facebook page Or you can reach her through