Long Harry S. was a deputy. Although he was nicknamed long for obvious reasons, he was very thin. He looked as if he weighed no more that a damp dishcloth.
Most Deputies worked weeks about, each taking his turn, with two others, to man a district for the full 24 hours of each day. Harry had arranged with the other two other deputies, that he would do the night shift permanently. The other two were quite happy with this agreement and alternated the days and afternoons between them.
Harry S. never got a shower, preferring to go home in his ‘muck’. Everyone thought he was a little eccentric at this. He had been working nights regularly for about eighteen months. One shift he was found semi-conscious at the end of some old workings. It was a suspected stroke as they could not bring him fully round, so he was placed on a stretcher and carried out of the pit. The stretcher bearers complained about the surprising weight of Harry, and constant changes of carriers had to be made.
At the surface he was examined by a First Aid attendant who unloosened his clothes. It was then found that Harry S. was concealing a large coil of copper wire, wrapped around his waist.
Afterwards the full story came out.
Harry liked to be on nights because once a full inspection of his responsible area had been completed, and all workers instructed as to their tasks, he would have plenty of time for other things. He would go up old worked out gates. When a face has been worked out of coal, then it is abandoned. Usually In a number of these gates thick armoured electric cabling had been left. The cabling cannot be reused and is not worth the manpower to retrieve it for scrap. With a hammer and set Harry S. would dismantle the armoured cable and ‘chop’ off a length of the thick copper wire.
No one would ever suspect a deputy of such theft. He would accumulate it at home and later weigh it in to a scrap metal merchant for cash. It was later estimated that he had stolen hundreds of pounds worth of copper with his fiddle. He was later tried and convicted of theft of copper wire from the mine. He was, of course, dismissed his job.
No wonder Harry S. felt so heavy on the stretcher, the bearers later complained.