It wasn't always the "good old days," take these 1905 cases for example.
Edmund Towell, a labourer, of no fixed abode was charged with "wandering abroad" and lodging in an outhouse. Police Constable Winter said that at 2 a.m. he was on duty in Boston West when he found the defendant asleep in a manger in a shed belonging to Mr. Dyer. He woke him up and asked him what he was doing there and he replied, "You see I am here," he had no money in his possession. The prisoner told the court he was a Boston man and he had had "a few words" with the man he had been staying with, and had nowhere to go. The chairman said these cases were getting very numerous and the prisoner would have to go to gaol for seven days hard labour.
John Haynes, a labourer from Deeping St. Nicholas, was charged with wandering abroad and sleeping in the open air. P.C. Winter stated that at 12.40 a.m. he was on duty on the Haven Bank when he found the prisoner asleep under a hedge, he asked him what he was doing there and he replied, "Where am I." The P.C. said "You are in Boston," and the prisoner replied, "I thought I was at Kirton Holme."
The prisoner said he was working at Kirton Holme and came over to Boston "to see the town." A fine of one shilling and costs was imposed, or seven days hard labour, and the prisoner was allowed until the following morning to pay the money.
Mary Keenan, a 70 year old widow, of 6, George Street, was charged with being found drunk in Strait Bargate. The charge was proved and the defendant (who said she was very sorry) was discharged with a caution.
William McGuire, a 22 year old printer of no fixed abode was charged with having been found wandering on the Witham Bank without visible means of subsistence and not able to give a proper account of himself. P.C. Whyte said that when he asked him what he was doing on Witham Bank he replied that he should not ask any questions and then he would not get any ******* lies told him. He then took a bottle out of his pocket and attempted to assault the officer, a struggle ensued and the P.C. succeeded in bringing the defendant to the Police Station. He pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for 14 days hard labour.
John Fisher, a labourer of no fixed abode was charged with begging in Frampton Place, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days hard labour.