Bobby Cummines

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Bobby Cummines

Bobby Cummines OBE MUniv. FRSA.png
Born (1951-11-23) November 23, 1951 (age 67)
NationalityUnited Kingdom

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'. Cummines appeared on the "True Geordie Podcast" in July 2018, describing the start of his criminal life as a "monetised neighborhood watch."[1] He is currently the CEO of Vision Housing Consultacy Service.


He 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. Bobby says how he didn't think about anyone he killed - saying that if you did think about it you would think of their families and guilt, he did, however, feel sorry for one death; in a routine bank heist a hostage had a serious panic attack, where he vomited and choked on a gag, killing him.

He was sentenced to 18 years when an arms dealer (referred to as "Ernie" in the book) informed and told the authorities almost everything Bobby and his gang had done - Ernie told Bobby he had an Uzi sub machine gun he was willing to sell, it was a trap, as multiple armed police ambushed and arrested Bobby. He went to prison and within the first few months he had taken a governor hostage for being "unreasonable". This caused him to be made a class "A" prisoner, making him move prisons a lot. In his book he details how he met many people from IRA, to the lavishly living American Mafiosi (who he says were very nice!). He turned his life around in prison, after a conversation with Charlie Richardson of the South London "Torture Gang", who urged him to get into education and earn money without hurting anyone. He got into writing poetry and got into contact with Tony Benn - a government minister at the time willing to help Bobby and put a foreword in to publish his poems, changing rules, having prisons "rehabilitate and educate" rather than the free-for-all style Bobby experienced.

He details about how stupid the systems in high security prisons, putting a lot of brilliant criminal minds in one place to teach each other tricks and connections, stating that if he didn't want to escape the 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]

He 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.

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