Britain’s most prolific thief from Plymouth is jailed on his 190th court appearance for nearly 350 offences


Britain’s most persistent crook is behind bars again after his 190th court appearance – in a criminal career spanning 50 YEARS.

Serial thief Robert Knowles (John Allen /
Serial thief Robert Knowles (John Allen / 

Serial shoplifter Robert Knowles, 68, first broke the law aged 13 and has been in court at least once a year since 1959.

His record is so long prosecutors have lost track of his expansive rap sheet which includes 200 thefts and dozens more for other dishonest offences.

It is believed Knowles is now actually heading for 350 offences over his lifetime.

Exasperated defence lawyers say Knowles only goes between 24 and 72 hours before he is rearrested after each court appearance.

He has spent most of his adult life behind bars and even wants to DIE in jail.

In his latest offence Knowles pleaded guilty to stealing a watch and a pair of cuff links worth £50 from H Samuel in Plymouth, Devon.

He was jailed for 16 weeks at Plymouth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80.

The court heard he had only recently been released from a six week jail sentence imposed by the same court.

Knowles had been living briefly in a hostel in Plymouth before the thefts on March 14.

His long-term solicitor Alan Harris said: “Nobody knows why he does it.

“Nobody knows whether he is effectively waiting to die in prison.”


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