Billy Makin was a young schoolboy and leader of the Black Hand Gang. In 1962, mysterious noises coming from the vacant 9 Coronation Street turned out to be Billy and his clan using the property as a hideout.
No.9 had been empty for five months when neighbours Concepta Hewitt and Elsie Tanner started hearing sounds from next door. Clues then started appearing which pointed to the house being occupied, notably a milk bottle which Martha Longhurst swore she saw on the doorstep and a circular meant for a house streets away put through the letterbox. Suspecting that the house was haunted, Elsie let herself in using Linda Cheveski's old key and found the gang's leftovers along with a demonic-looking mask and a note reading "Coming back. Help yourself. Billy".
The mystery was solved when Len Fairclough entered through the back and caught the gang in the backing. Three of the boys were able to flee, but Harry Hewitt managed to grab hold of Billy and drag him inside by the ear for interrogation. After Len and Harry's heavy-handed manner got little response from the terrified lad, Minnie Caldwell - an old neighbour of Billy's - took him to one side and calmed him down over a bag of mints. The now talkative boy told the residents all about the gang and their meetings, explaining that he'd borrowed his dad's key from when he was considering buying the house.
Their cover blown, the Black Hand Gang stayed away from No.9 but they were still making nuisances of themselves in January 1963, when Billy and his cohorts tried to break into the bubblegum machine outside the Corner Shop.
- Child actor Jimmy Ogden was the first guest actor in Coronation Street since Episode 104 (11th December 1961) and the first to appear after the end of the Equity actors' strike. The 1963 reference to Billy comes from Episode 221 (23rd January 1963) although in that episode Florrie Lindley and Lucille Hewitt refer to one of the boys as "Billy Ogden", which is assumed to be a mix up of the character and actor's names.