Updated: Mar 8
Who is Bobby Cummines?
Bobby Cummines is a former hitman and armed robber from the London crime world, dominating his field throughout the 1970's. He was dubbed as Britain's youngest armed robber after holding up a post office with a sawed-off shotgun at age 16. Since then, he has changed his life around and was rightfully rewarded with an OBE for his charity work.
Despite his criminal background, Bobby declines the title of gangster and suggests that he was a businessman whose business was crime as he was very good at organising things and earning money.
How did Bobby's criminal journey begin?
Bobby was born and raised in a straight-going, honest family. Bobby was also straight-going up until the day he had a dispute with police officers at age 15, which led to them stitching him up with a razor blade - suggesting that he was in possession of it. Because of this, he was forced to plead guilty which meant that he lost his job - which then awoke the criminal within him.
Due to the lack of work and money, he got involved with the local firm (gang), his organisation skills led to him leading the firm at age 16. His first big crime was an armed robbery at 16, from there, he has been arrested for and accused of multiple murders and shootings.
The numerous years of prison time and court visits allowed Bobby to meet a variety of crime figures such as the Kray twins and the Richardsons.
Despite playing somewhat of a villain role, Bobby stays true to the code of his era which was both respect and honesty.
"If you want respect you have to earn it. The only way you earn it is by treating ordinary people with respect"
What is Bobby doing now?
Bobby is now a anti-crime campaigner, helping to rehabilitate ex-convicts and those in trouble with crime. Because of the positive impact of his role, he was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his efforts in helping others that were in a similar position to himself at an earlier age.
"The Queen told me I had a really colourful background and she was pleased to award me the OBE"
He has also been asked to sit upon multiple government committees and has spoken to children at multiple schools in order to push his message as well as helping to change policies regarding crime and young people.
His role as CEO of Unlock, the national association of reformed offenders, played a vital part in the rehabilitation of offenders.
Bobby's reflection on the crime world
Looking back after years of imprisonment, tragedies and bullet wounds, Bobby dismisses any romantic notions about the crime world.
"It's a joke. That world is hell. You're totally paranoid"
What can young entrepreneurs learn from Bobby Cummines?
Looking at Bobby's story, there are some implicit similarities between his life as a criminal and the life of a young entrepreneur.
It is clear that the more organised and courageous individuals amongst us often find it easier to dominate within an industry as they take centre stage - this is both the same for the criminal and business world. Therefore, us young entrepreneurs may want to work on our organisational skills as well as our confidence (by trying new things and testing your limits) in order to excel in whatever avenue of work we go down.
Moreover, the idea of respect and honesty is also key as it is argued that the lying world shown in the likes of Wolf of Wall Street are dying and the world of honesty and community spirit is now more prevalent. Similarly, Bobby has also spent many years helping others, which may be a great thing to do for entrepreneurs that are starting off as this allows you to help others in a similar position to you and they will help you in return.
One may be reading this wondering why a criminal is being glorified, in which case, I would say that I am not glorifying the crime but instead, I'm praising Bobby for turning his life around and pro-actively helping others to avoid going down a similar path. As the great Rafiki (from The Lion King) once said:
"The past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it"
If you know any great stories about people changing their lives around and helping others, please let us know by commenting below or contacting me via Instagram @IfOnlyTheyKnewUK