E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Sieve and Shears.
The device of discovering a guilty person by sieve and shears is to stick a pair of shears in a sieve, and give the sieve into the hands of two virgins, then say: By St. Peter and St. Paul, if you [or you] have stolen the article, turn shears to the thief. Sometimes a Bible and key are employed instead, in which case the key is placed in a Bible.