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Top 10 Infamous British Gangsters

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Andrea Buccino
Say hello to my little friend. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Infamous British Gangsters. For this list we take a look at the most ruthless and notorious gangsters in modern British history. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Infamous British Gangsters

Say hello to my little friend. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Infamous British Gangsters.

For this list we take a look at the most ruthless and notorious gangsters in modern British history.

#10: Lenny McLean

Frequently dubbed “The hardest man in Britain,” McLean was known to most people simply as the Guv’nor. While his gangster credentials aren’t as prominent as some, he did become Britain’s most famous bare-knuckle street fighter, and reportedly one of the best. Throughout his career McLean’s said to have fought in almost 4,000 matches, and to have won most of them. An important figure in the East End as a bouncer, bodyguard and enforcer, he often associated with people such as the Kray Twins and Charles Bronson… Before, in his later life, he worked as an actor.

#9: Thomas McGraw

Born in Glasgow, Tam “The Licensee” McGraw’s criminal career started off with burglary and armed robbery, and he eventually became one of the most wanted men in Scotland. In the 1980s, after somehow avoiding a stint in prison after a failed robbery, he began to expand his criminal empire by selling heroin and purchasing numerous clubs and pubs. He was one of the key figures in Glasgow’s Ice Cream Wars, where violent confrontations became commonplace among criminals using ice cream vans as a front for drug sales.

#8: Charles Bronson

With his taste for fighting guards and inmates alike, Charles Bronson became known as Britain’s most violent prisoner, and is one of British crime’s most notorious figures. Born Michael Peterson, Bronson began as a petty criminal and was first imprisoned for armed robbery. Upon his release in 1987 he entered the world of bare-knuckle boxing, but his fighting career was fairly short lived: because 69 days later he was in jail again. Out again in ’92, he was arrested a third time for conspiracy to rob, and has never been freed since.

#7: Freddie Foreman

He’s best known as “Brown Bread Fred” or “the godfather of British crime,” as many publications have come to refer to him – but Foreman says he’s nothing like Marlon Brando. One of the East End gangster scene’s most feared figures, he was close to the infamous Kray Twins and was implicated in numerous murders and other criminal activities. Though never actually convicted of killing anybody, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for disposing of the body of Jack “The Hat” McVitie, and later in relation to 1983’s Shoreditch Security Express robbery.

#6: Tommy Comerford

The hometown of The Beatles has had its share of shady characters. This includes one of the first ‘big business’ criminals to establish in England the kind of international drug trafficking network that you’d perhaps usually link to a mob overseas. Drug baron Tommy “Tacker” Comerford was instrumental in forming the first serious drug-dealing cartel in Britain, which made the Liverpool mafia the richest in the country. His first stint in jail came after a bank robbery, and during his long criminal career he was sentenced to more than 34 years behind bars.

#5: Desmond and Dominic Noonan

These two brothers were the head of one of Manchester’s most infamous and ruthless gangs, which by the late 1990s had become one of the most notorious crime families in the whole of Britain. Involved in drug trafficking, nightlife security and armed robbery, the Noonans’ reign over Manchester’s underworld lasted over 20 years. During that time, they were also suspected of being responsible for more than 25 murders. Desmond was stabbed in 2005 and died of his wounds, while Dominic is currently serving 22 years in prison for arson, blackmail and sex offences.

#4: Frankie Fraser

One of the most recognizable faces in modern British crime, “Mad” Frankie Fraser was a guy you didn’t want to cross. And the nickname is not just for show: he was actually certified insane during a short prison stint after World War Two – a conflict he’d managed not to take part in by deserting. Fraser eventually became an enforcer for the Richardson Gang during the ‘60s, and was reportedly involved in numerous episodes of torture and murder. His violence followed him in prison, where he would often start fights with other inmates and guards.

#3: The Gunn Brothers

Heads of the Bestwood Cartel, named after the Bestwood Estate in Nottingham where they set up their criminal enterprise, brothers David and Colin Gunn became the city’s foremost gang lords. Drug trafficking, protection rackets, corruption and murder became commonplace under their watch, so much so that the city earned the nickname of “Shottingham.” As their empire grew and drugs flowed in, Colin started becoming more and more violent and volatile, as steroids and cocaine use heightened his worst impulses. Under his watch even innocents would pay the price of his crimes.

#2: The Richardson Brothers

Charlie and Eddie Richardson were the leaders of what many still consider the most sadistic and ruthless gang in Britain: the Richardson Gang. They were often simply referred to as the “Torture Gang”, due to their preferred way of settling scores and intimidating rivals and transgressors. After holding mock trials, their victims could be subject to electric shocks, teeth-pulling using pliers, toe-cutting or even being nailed to the floor. The Richardsons controlled South London, but ended up in a feud with the Krays that lasted into the mid-‘60s.

#1: The Kray Twins

The most infamous gangsters to ever call London home, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were the most prominent criminals in the city’s East End over the 1950s and ‘60s. Armed robbery, hijacking, murder and general violence were only some of the brothers’ specialties while heads of their own gang, “The Firm.” As owners of several nightclubs in the ‘60s, they became part of the Swinging London scene and gained a certain amount of celebrity, even appearing on national television. But, they were finally arrested in 1968 and essentially spent the rest of their lives in prison.

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