Bobby Cummines

Robert "Bobby" Cummines OBE, FRSA (born 23 November 1951) is an English former hitman who was chief executive of UNLOCK, The National Association of Reformed Offenders until March 2012. Formerly one of the United Kingdom's most notorious bank robbers, he rejects the designation of gangster.[1] He is currently the CEO of Vision Housing Consultancy Service.

Bobby Cummines

Bobby Cummines OBE MUniv. FRSA
Born23 November 1951 (age 67)
NationalityUnited Kingdom


Cummines began a criminal career at the age of 16, as Britain's youngest armed robber. He expanded into leading a group of contract killers and racketeers, employing extreme violence in 1970s North London with his fearsome reputation and a sawn-off double barrel shotgun named "Kennedy" after JFK. He also utilised a brutal method common in the underworld, filling his shotgun with salt rocks instead of shells - doing less damage but causing serious pain. Cummines claims that he did not think about anyone he killed, saying that if you did think about it then you would think of their families and guilt. He did, however, feel sorry for one death; a hostage in a routine bank heist died due to suffering a serious panic attack, where he vomited and choked on a gag.

Cummines was sentenced to 18 years when an arms dealer (referred to as "Ernie" in the book) informed and told the authorities almost everything Cummines and his gang had done. Ernie worked with the police to entrap Cummines, telling him he had an Uzi sub-machine gun for sale, allowing multiple armed police to ambush and arrest him. He went to prison and within the first few months he had taken a governor hostage for being "unreasonable". This caused him to be designated as a class "A" prisoner, causing him to be frequently moved from one prison to another. In his autobiography, Cummines details how he met a broad range of people, from members of the Irish Republican Army to lavishly-living American Mafiosi.

Cummines turned his life around in prison after a conversation with Charlie Richardson of the South London "Torture Gang", who urged him to become educated and earn money without hurting anyone. He began writing poetry and got into contact with Tony Benn, a government minister at the time who was willing to help him and contributed a foreword to his published poems, as well as changing rules so that the aim of prisons was stated to be to "rehabilitate and educate" rather than the free-for-all ethos that Cummines had experienced.

Cummines has criticised the system of high-security prisons, which places a lot of brilliant criminal minds in one location and thus enables them to teach each other tricks and connections. He has said that if he had not wanted to escape criminal life he would have utilised these techniques, such as bomb building or smuggling illicit goods.[2][3] He then studied for a degree with the Open University whilst in prison.[4][5]

Cummines was awarded the OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in June 2011 in recognition of his services to reformed offenders.[6]

His autobiography, I Am Not A Gangster, ISBN 9780091958589, was published 15 May 2014 by Random House's Ebury Press imprint.[7]


  1. ^ Elkes, Neil (17 February 2010). "Ex-con Bobby Cummines in talks to create 'criminals village' in Birmingham". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  2. ^ Manger, Warren (30 May 2013). "Gangster Bobby Cummines was Britain's youngest armed robber - and ended up with an OBE - Mirror Online". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  3. ^ Matthews, Tanita (21 September 2013). "From Organised Crime to OBE: How London gangster Bobby Cummines became a model citizen". Real Crime Daily. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Youngest armed robber: 'University changed my life'". BBC. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Interview: my life behind bars". The Guardian. 2 February 2001. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  6. ^ James, Erwin (11 July 2011). "Former bank robber dreams of academies to help prisoners go straight". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  7. ^ Cummines, Bobby. "I Am Not A Gangster by Bobby Cummines - Books - Random House Books Australia". Random House. Retrieved 6 November 2014.

External links

List of British gangsters

This is a list of some organised crime figures within the underworld of the United Kingdom.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts

Below is a partial list of Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts (formally, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts is entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRSA after his or her name.

List of mobsters by city

This list includes mobsters and International organized crime figures by area of operation/sphere of influence. Some names may be listed in more than one city.

National Liberal Club

The National Liberal Club (NLC) is a London private members' club, open to both men and women. It was established by William Ewart Gladstone in 1882 to provide club facilities for Liberal Party campaigners among the newly enlarged electorate following the Third Reform Act in 1884. The club's neo-Gothic building on the Embankment of the river Thames is the second-largest clubhouse ever built. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, it was completed in 1887. Its current facilities include a dining room, a bar, function rooms, a billiards room, a smoking room, a library and an outdoor riverside terrace. It is located at Whitehall Place, close to the Houses of Parliament, the Thames Embankment and Trafalgar Square.

Open University

The Open University (OU) is a public research university, and the biggest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.The OU was established in 1969 and used the original television studios and editing facilities at Alexandra Palace, in north London, which had been recently vacated by the BBC. The first students enrolled in January 1971. The university administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, but has administration centres in other parts of the United Kingdom. It also has a presence in other European countries. The university awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates or continuing education units.

With more than 174,000 students enrolled, including around 31% of new undergraduates aged under 25 and more than 7,400 overseas students, it is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom (and one of the largest in Europe) by student number, and qualifies as one of the world's largest universities. Since it was founded, more than 2 million students have studied its courses. It was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in the 2005, 2006 and 2012 United Kingdom government national student satisfaction survey, and second in the 2007 survey. Out of 132 universities and colleges, the OU was ranked 43rd (second quartile) in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence in 2008, between the University of Reading and University of the Arts London; it was rated highly in Design, Art History, English, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Development Studies, Social Policy and Social Work and Sociology. It was ranked 36th in the country and 498th in the world by the Center for World University Rankings in 2018.The Open University is also one of only three United Kingdom higher education institutions (the other two being London Metropolitan University and Richmond, The American International University in London) to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency, recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.The BSc (Honours) Computing and IT course is accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and quality assured by the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE).The OU won the Teaching Excellence and Digital Innovation categories in The Guardian University Awards 2018.

Unlock (charity)

Unlock - for people with convictions, commonly referred to as Unlock, is an independent United Kingdom-based charity, established in 2000 to campaign for the equality of reformed offenders. Unlock describes its vision as “A fair and inclusive society where people with convictions can move on positively in their lives.

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