Local Bookie Swindled - Courtcase

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Local Bookie Swindled - Courtcase

Post by Hughie »

Saltcoats Bookmaker, William Mitchell, sued a man for selling him a gauranteed safe locking device for his betting slip bags which proved to be beatable. Couldn't find a verdict to the case, perhaps settled out of court - any further details would be appreciated.

Kilmarnock Herald and Ayrshire Gazette
May 25, 1934

Sheriff Learns To beat The Bookmaker

Witness Demonstrates How He Swindled Ayrshire Bookie Of Over One Hundred Pounds
Action For Damages Against English Patentee

An amazing fraud which enabled an Old Cumnock man to "beat" leading Ayrshire commission agent and swindle him of over £100, was revealed at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court this week when proof was heard in an action for damages brought against the manufacturer and patentee of an automatic time-recorder.

Pursuer is William Mitchell, commission agent, 3 Hill Street, Saltcoats. He claims damages to the extent of £250 from defender, Harry Love, patentee and manufacturer of Service and Security Time Recorders, at 145 Hockley Hill, Birmingham, in respect of a guarantee on the part of defender for that amount should his time-recorder be proved "beatable."

Bought A Time-Recorder
Mr Mitchell claims that, having bought this time-recorder from defender, he placed it in the hands of a customer in Old Cumnock who, subsequently, succeeded in "beating" the machine by inserting betting slips into the bag attached, after the result of the race was known.

On behalf of the defender it is claimed that the transaction out of which Pursuer's claim emerges was for the purpose of promoting an illegal purpose, and that on these grounds the action should be dismissed.

Mystery of Winning Bets
Agent for Pursuer was Mr James Walker, advocate, instructed by Joseph Kirkland & Son, Saltcoats. Mr G. R. Thomson, advocate, appeared for Defender on the instruction of Rosslyn Mitchell & Tullis Cochran, Glasgow.
Leading evidence, Mr Mitchell, pursuer, stated that about April, 1931, he purchased from Defender's Glasgow representative, one of his Service and Security. Time Re-corders. He paid seven guineas for it and it was equipped with a new patent time lock in a metal case together with bags.
"The chief attraction," proceeded Mr Mitchell, "was a £250 guarantee contained in a catalogue issued by the manufacturer. In the catalogue it was represented that the recorder was unbeatable. With such a guarantee I thought that it must be a reliable machine and that was why I bought it."

With The Lid Off
The catalogue which was read in Court claimed that the clock which was contained in the recorder could be given to a 'runner' unlocked; "It cannot be cheated," it added, "even with the lid off."

Demanded Payment Of £250
Explaining the use of the recorder and the bags attached, Mr Mitchell said he handed it over in April, 1931, to a customer in Old Cumnock. This customer, he added, placed bets with him daily by means of betting slips which he sent to Saltcoats by train. These slips were placed by him before the commencement of each race into one of the bags attached to the recorder, On doing so the time was automatically recorded.
Immediately after he commenced using the recorder, added witness, commissions found in the bag when it was opened at Saltcoats each evening were, with very few exceptions, winning bets.

Became Suspicious
Becoming suspicious, he called the man to his office and challenged him as to his honesty. The man admitted that he had been able, without difficulty, to insert betting slips into the bags after they had been closed and after the results of the races were known to him. Following upon this, added witness, he got in touch with Defender and demanded payment of the guarantee of £250. This had not been paid.

Collected Bets in Old Cumnock
Cross-examined, Mr Mitchell, denied that the Old Cumnock man who had succeeded in "beating" the indicator was in his employment as his agent, or a "runner." With regard to the winning bets he re- ceived from Cumnock, it was im- possible for him to know the identity of the "punters" as they all used nom de plumes.
"Is it not a fact," asked Mr Thomson, "that you have agents in all the towns and villages throughout Ayrshire?"
"They are entirely on their own," replied witness. It is only bets they don't want that I get."
Mr Thomson: Are they allowed expenses?
Witness: They are paid commission on the turnover. That is, they are paid on the amount of the bets placed and not on the winnings.
Mr Thomson: Do you know that this man in Cumnock collects bets and money on the streets?
Witness: I do not.
Mr Thomson: When you bought this recorder was there anything said about the way in which bets were collected?
Witness: Not that I remember.
Advocate: Is this man a runner?
Is he a bookmaker's agent?
I don't know how you would describe an agent. I have no employees apart from those in the office.
Are all these people who collect bets for you quite independent?

Witness Who Caused Sensation
The next witness, who gave an address in Old Cumnock, caused sensation after sensation as he described how he had succeeded in beating the recorder and placed bets knowing the result of the races.

Always On The Winner - Called At Public Houses
His method of collecting bets, he said, was to make about ten calls at public houses and shops. He settled with customers next morning, and it was only then that any money transaction was made. All his customers, he added used pseudonyms on their betting slips. "The identity of the people," he continued, "is known only to me." "Did you find a means of putting these slips into the bag after it had been attached to the recorder ?" asked Mr Walker.
"Yes," replied witness. "I did it from time to time."
"What was contained in these slips?" 7.Winners!"
"Did you get payment from Mr Mitchell in respect of these bets?" "Yes."
All eyes turned towards Mr Walker as he picked up the recorder and a bag which was lying on the table. Handing it to witness, he said:
"I want you to show us how you managed to insert these bets after the bag had been attached and the clock set at zero!"
Witness smiled quietly and produced an envelope into which he inserted a slip of paper. He then sealed the envelope. Meanwhile, Mr Mitchell had set the recorder and attached the bag.

"In The Bag"
There was dead silence in the courtroom as the man neatly folded the envelope and deftly pushed it through a tiny aperture at the neck of a bag by means of a pen-holder. Within a minute he had pushed the slip into the bag and closed the aperture by means of a piece of wire. He then carefully unfolded the envelope containing the line, while it was in the bag!
"Did you practice this method?" asked Mr Walker.
Witness: Yes, I had to practice it for some time.
"Did you make a considerable amount of money?"
Witness: Yes, I managed to bank £126. This has been paid back to Mr Mitchell.
Cross-examined, witness denied that he was known as "Mitchell's Man" in the town or that he collected money and lines in the streets.
Mr Thomson: I put it to you that on various dates in April you collected slips and money on the streets I have collected slips, but no money.

Private Detective Gives Evidence
Witness was shown two new bags which had lately been produced to take the place of the old bag. Asked if he could "beat" them, he replied that in one case he could not while in the other he thought he could.
Upon being handed the bag witness once again succeeded in inserting an envelope containing a slip of paper into one of the new bags. The other bag which had metal all round the top was, he said, a safe one.

For The Defence
Evidence for the defence was then led which consisted of evidence of a private detective and his assistant who watched the previous witness's movements while he was collecting bets in Old Cumnock. They averred that he accepted money and betting slips in the streets from a number of men, and on two occasions accepted 2s "doubles" from the detective's assistant.

Sheriff Laing continued debate until Monday, June 18. (End of Article)

This would be the 'safe' type of bookmakers/runners betting slip clock bag with the metal top as mentioned in the article

A bookmakers/runners betting slip clock bag is a special bag with a time lock used for betting slips collected by bookmaker's runners. The runners closes the bag which then locks and starts a watch in the lock. The jaws of the bag have 'teeth which prevents slips being squeezed in after locking. The bookmaker can open the bag with a special key and note the time which has elapsed since it was closed. Bookmaker's clock bags were introduced in the 1920's to facilitate safe and fair betting.
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Re: Local Bookie Swindled - Courtcase

Post by Hughie »

Here's another local story on beating the bookies from our archives - you couldn't miss all those ICI Buses coming up New Street in Stevenston from Alfred Nobel's Ardeer Dynamite Factory. :puter
From: "Hugh McCallum" <hewmac@xx.com.au>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2001

No apologies for repeating this wee story by James Clements (Stevenston)

In the 1920s three young men devised a scheme to try to beat the Bookie. Before the advent of legalised betting, bets were lifted by the bookie's runner at the street corner. Bets for each race were placed in a canvas bag which had a locking and timing device. James (Lauder Burns) Byron was the bookie's runner for Mitchell, operating from the foot of the Schoolwell Street, and usually took his time from the Parish Church Clock. The scheme got up by the three punters was, in the middle of the night, they gained access to the Kirk and proceeded to the belfry and put the clock back ten minutes and at five minutes to two on the Town Clock they placed their bet as they already knew the winner, as the proper time was five past two o'clock. This ploy would have succeeded, but the shift buses from Ardeer Factory gave the game away, as they were at the 'Brig' before the clock struck two.
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