Blantyre Burglaries, 1905

Two Blantyre miners went on a burglary spree , taking advantage of the dark Winter nights in January 1905, but like for almost all thieves, it wasn’t to end well for them.

Charles McCulloch and Patrick Mullen of Stonefield arranged to meet at 3am on the morning of the last Sunday in January and their nearby target was the licensed premises of Mrs Struthers at the bottom of Stonefield Road.

Under cover of darkness, they went to the back of the property and began removing bricks from the wall of the beer cellar, slowly one by one creating a larger hole. In total 21 bricks were removed, enough for the duo to get inside. For their efforts, the cellar was largely empty and they only managed to steal 6 bottles of beer. It meant finding another target, one where they knew money would be kept.

They proceed to make their way in the dead of night to High Blantyre, taking care to avoid patrolling constables on Blantyre’s streets. They soon found the High Blantyre post Office and entry was gained by breaking a back window pane and forcing a shutter. 1 shilling and 6d was taken and they opened a letter box, and several letters with the contents strewn over the floor.

Now, as was the custom at the time, patrolling police in Blantyre often frequented the area where shops were, and that night, heard some scuffling noises from inside the Post Office. Constables Miller and Gilhooly decided they would split up, with one at the back and one at the front, putting themselves in each position to catch the burglars. As the miners left through the back window, there was Constable Miller, shouting for his companion and the men promptly arrested. Sergeant Richardson was called for and took them to Blantyre jail (in the Police office on Glasgow Road)

Charles and Patrick found themselves in Hamilton Sheriff Court in the dock on the following Monday and after a guilty plea was shamefully entered, both men soon found themselves in prison.

[Source: Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News]

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