When Keith Cheeseman had a trial for Dunstable Town as a striker, he didn't get a place in the team. So, he bought the club. He brought soccer legend George Best out of retirement and entered the columns of the satirical magazine Private Eye that wanted to know how come the boss of Dunstable Town was driving a Lamborghini? The answer: Keith was taking out hundreds of thousands of pounds in loans against false accounts.
Keith got sent away for six years. He honed his skills as a fraudster behind bars and was out in three due to being a gentleman and keeping the Governor of Wormwood Scrubs constantly amused. He became mates with ex-Labour MP and spy John Stonehouse and advised him on how he might acquire a new identity and disappear.
People love Keith Cheeseman. He’s a people magnet, the quick fire one-liner, once met, never forgotten. He shared a flat with singer Dean Martin. John Wayne was a drinking buddy. Celebrities and royalty wanted to have him at their table. When Harold Wilson needed a helicopter, someone called Keith and a chopper was soon hovering over Downing Street. After donating to the party, he didn’t get the OBE he expected. He got what he called an OOBE – ordered Out of the British Empire.
Cheeseman set out to robs banks as a counterbalance to banks robbing everyone else. He’s a big bloke, but gentle, no violence, a juggling act with the numbers. He saw the way the upper-classes lived and that’s what he wanted, good suits, best wines, a villa in the sunshine – out on the high wire where every moment is electric, thrilling, deadly.