Stealing a Motty at Denaby Main Colliery

September 1891

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Tuesday 15 September 1891

Stealing a Motty at Denaby Main Colliery

At the Rotherham West Riding Police Court yesterday, before Mr H Jubb and Mr Skinner, Benjamin Wall, a tram, employed at Denaby Main Colliery, was charged with stealing a metal token, viz a Motty, from a corf in the pit on 1 September.

Mr H.H. Hickmott appeared to prosecute, and said that he not only represented the company, but also the workmen, the latter of whom have been subjected to thefts of this kind to a serious degree. The defendant might have been proceeding against for attempting to obtain money under false pretences; but as then it would have been necessary sending him to the Quarter Sessions for trial, it was decided to keep the case within the jurisdiction of that court.

The defendant was seen to take a Motty, number 14, from a corf of coals and replace it with a Motty numbered 45, which he carried in his pocket. The Motty which he substituted was the number of the man for whom he worked. Result of this was that when the corf went out of the pit it would be credited to number 45, and the man who had really “won” them will be defrauded of his earnings.

There are 2,000 hands employed at Denaby Main Colliery, and it was really in their interest to press the case. The system of dishonestly substituting Motty’s was calculated to completely disorganise the whole working of the pit. It was so easy to accomplish, in the darkness of the pit, that when detected it was necessary that strong measures should be taken. There had been numerous complaints by the men on this score.

The Chairman expressed surprise that the defendant, was paid a fixed sum per week, and would not benefit by the fraud, should have any motive in stealing the Motty. It looked as if the man were employed him would derive the benefit.

Mr Hickmott pointed out that the defendant had clearly done wrong, and it was not the duty of the bench to ascribe motives. The defendant probably received something for what he had done, and thustly must abide by the consequences. They could prove nothing against the man, and he would have been proceeding against instead of the present defendant.

The defendant said that the man bearing the number 45 game him a shilling to change the number, but no one witnessed the transaction.

The Chairman said that although they believe the defendant had committed the thefts at the instigation of another, yet they should not look over the offence. The man bearing the number 45 ought really to have stood in his place.

Mr Hickmott observed that it proof could have been obtained this most certainly would have been done.

The defendant was fined 30 shillings, including costs, or a month’s imprisonment in default.