A FORMER bank robber says he is going to “de-glamorise” crime when he talks to young offenders in North Kent.

Ex-Eastend gangster Bobby Cummines is going to hold workshops with 40 persistent young offenders as part of a hard-hitting police project to crack down on crime.

The News Shopper reported earlier this month how police and Gravesham MP Chris Pond were concerned about the increase in youth crime with one teenager arrested 76 times in a few months.

Now Inspector Martin Cunningham, who heads the campaign, hopes Mr Cummines, who runs Unlock, the national organisation for ex-prisoners, will “teach young offenders how hard prison life is and divert them from crime”.

Mr Cummines, who has been working with schoolchildren for the last three years through the Kent Youth Offending Team, said: “Many of these young offenders think crime is glamorous and sexy but I am going to tell them it's not.

“I got into crime from an early age and was part of London's gangland warfare so I know where these youngsters are coming from.

“But I think, hearing from me that prison life is hard, rather than from a teacher or police officer, they will see an alternative to crime.”

Insp Cunningham explained many young offenders in North Kent come from fourth generation criminal families and the community they live in expects them to get involved in crime from an early age.

He said: “By getting someone like Bobby Cummines to talk to them about prison life, they will listen to him more than they would to police officers.

He added: “The project, being launched in February, also aims to help young victims of crime, like schoolchildren who are bullied, so they don't also turn into bullies or to a life of crime.

“We want to help those youngsters, for example by buying them a new school uniform, if they are being bullied because of it.”

He added: “The project makes sure youngsters gets the right intervention at the right time and breaks the cycle of criminal behaviour.”