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Attempts To Wreck Machinery

July 1937

Sheffield Independent – Thursday 01 July 1937

Attempts To Wreck Machinery

Serious complaints are made of what is described as “deliberate wrecking” at South Yorkshire coal pits. recent weeks there has been something of an epidemic of breakdown of plants and machinery. Sabotage is alleged.

Yesterday the Houghton Main Colliery Company in Barnsley put out warning notices offering £5 reward for anyone giving information leading to conviction.

The management allege that during the past few weeks numerous attempts have been made to wreck underground machinery. “The situation is becoming very serious.” an official of the mine told a Daily Independent reporter last night “Only a few days ago,” he said, “we found a number of plate nails and two five-eighths nuts in a loader head gearbox of a conveyor. “These had been put through the hole where the oil inserted. Fortunately we made the discovery in time to prevent serious accident. “During the miners’ demonstration the machine was brought out be overhauled, and in the examination the nails and nuts were found by a fitter.

“It is obvious that they must have been put In deliberately. The machine had been brought out because was making a terrific noise.” The same official said that in the last few days thev had discovered what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to wreck a haulage engine. Someone had dropped a bolt in between the spurs and pinions of the driving wheel of the engine.

“Isolated Acts” grave risk to life and limb as well as loss to everybody concerned.” Asked why these attempts had recently assumed something of the nature of epidemic, the official stated that he thought it was a direct result of belter work. In my  opinion,” he said. ” the pits are working too regularly tor one or two people. Six shifts a week is too much for them when they have been accustomed for a long time to working four and five a week.”

Traps Set

Another official said the position had become so serious that they had been driven to the necessity of setting traps.

“We shall certainly catch them eventually, he said, but meantime it it causing a great deal of anxiety.”

It was pointed out that very simple act of can damage and even to thousands pounds, particularly the case delicate and costly electrical machinery quite apart from serious loss of wages to miners. Grave concern is felt at many mines.