On Friday 3rd February 1928, a youthful miner, Alexander M‘Connell, 10 Watson Street, High Blantyre, pleaded guilty to double-pinning two hutches worked by himself at Haughhead Colliery, and defrauding his employers of 3s 9d.
Sidenote on Double Pinning: When coal is worked and put into hutches (carts), they are marked by pins, to determine who worked that coal in that hutch. In some instances, fraud occurred where miners took opportunity to pin another person’s cart in order to claim it for themselves, if the opportunity arose. This could be where somebody was dismissed partly way through a shift, or didn’t turn up to finish their previous hutch.
According to the Fiscal when the fraud was discovered the boy said that be bad been double-pinning his hutches to make up what he had lost through somebody else defrauding him.
To assist him in the scheme the McConnell had approached two young pithead workers, and bribed them with a packet of cigarettes each. McConncll was working at night, and when his hutches came up his accomplices on the surface placed all the pins on the pitheadman’s desk, with the result that McConnell got full credit for everything.
An unfortunate point leading to the discovery, added the Fiscal, was that the miner working with McConnel, a man with a family had been dismissed from the colliery because, owing to the method of paying wages, he had unknown to himself obtained a share of the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme.
An agent for McConnell said that amends would be made for the restoration of the victimised man. McConnell would now take all the responsibility. The Justices imposed a modified fine of 20s.
Pictured here in a colliery near Strathaven in 1951 is a good example of what hutches were like.