King of Thieves: the adventures of Arthur Delaney and the Kangaroo Gang, by Adam Shand

Story of master shoplifter Arthur “The Duke” Delaney and the gangs of Australian shoplifters who laid waste the fashionable retail precincts of London and the Continent in the late 1960s, when shoplifting was far more profitable, and far easier, than it soon became (even George Freeman was a shoppie in his younger days). For a while shoplifters were well respected criminals, as shown by The Duke’s presence at the 1972 Double Bay “summit” meetings along with rougher figures such as Lennie McPherson.

Part of the Australians’ success in London was apparently due to their sheer nerve: largely untainted by the class system, they were able to impersonate wealthy shoppers with an effectiveness Brit crooks could rarely achieve.

An enjoyable book with little violence and lots of capers, in the halcyon days before closed circuit television cameras changed everything.