A look at how the small hamlets which evolved into the town of Cleethorpes dealt with law and order, especially petty crime, in bygone times. In 1801 the population was only 284 but as it rapidly grew so did the crime rate. Before the formation of a police force one way of upholding the law, throughout England, in towns and cities, Associations for the Prosecution of Felons were set up by the more wealthy inhabitants of the area, the landowners, farmers, businessmen etc. mainly to protect their own property and land. When a crime had been committed, and this happened with great regularity, the members of the associations would meet and agree ‘rewards’ that would be given for the capture and prosecution of felons. The details of the crime would be posted around the towns and villages and in newspapers offering rewards, which could be quite substantial. Private individuals could also place posters or insert a notice in a newspaper to highlight a crime. There were two such Associations covering this area, The Caistor Association for the Prosecution of Felons and the Bradley Haverstoe Association for the Prosecution of Felons.
In 1790 Mr. William Clarke of Clee-Thorpe was a subscriber to the Caistor Association for the Prosecution of Felons in 1790 - 1791. He had taken over the Dolphin Hotel in May 1788 which had been recently rebuilt "in a commodious style". On his death in May 1793 his wife Mrs. Anne Clarke, took over the running of the Hotel and then became a subscriber to the same Association between 1801 - 1802. In 1819 Mr. Ben Chapman was a subscriber to the Bradley Haverstoe Association in 1819 and Mr. Robert Croft, Cleethorpes was a subscriber to the same Association in 1828; 1829; 1830 and 1831. Mr. Robert Lill was a member in 1828 and 1829.