Green’s Dictionary of Slang

clouting lay n.

also clouting
[clout n.1 (1) + lay n.3 (1)]

(UK Und.) the stealing of handkerchiefs.

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 3: Some are good Workmen at Clouting; which is, taking Handkerchiefs out of Folks Pockets.
[UK]Life of Thomas Neaves 11: At first he began to Play at small Game, viz. to go a Clouting (that is picking Handkerchiefs out of Men’s Pockets).
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 444: He first went a Clouting, that is, picking Handkerchiefs out of Pockets.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Clouting Lay. Picking pockets of Handkerchiefs.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.