A gran dubbed the ‘UK’s most prolific shoplifter’ after stealing Sh280 million (£2million) of products in 45 years is leading fitness classes and addiction workshops to help hundreds of people cope in lockdown. Kim Farry, 59, went to prison for theft and subsequently was branded the country’s ‘shoplifting queen’.
Since coronavirus lockdown though, the gran-of-10 has been “changing lives” by leading virtual fitness classes, helping people lose weight and fight addiction. She has previously been turned down for work as an escort because of her criminal record. She hopes the work will “finally give her a break in life” as she’s become “heartbroken” at desperately trying to change her image.
And though Kim, a former cleaner, admitted she loved the money she made as a career criminal, she’s vowed she’ll never return to her law-breaking ways. Speaking from her council house in Fulham, southwest London, Kim today told Mirror Online: “I look back and the money every day was good but I definitely won’t be doing all that again. I did it to support my family. "It became my job; I classed it as my business.
“Now I don’t want to sponge off benefits too. I don’t want to live in the council flat. So now I’m changing lives and I’m determined to finally get my break in life. People tell me they are inspired by my journey so I enjoy helping others. I lead the fitness classes, I help people change their diets, lose weight and change a few things about their attitude sometimes. I use YouTube and Facebook videos and have 900 people who watch my videos regularly. I have had people talk to me in tears as they’re so pleased. I think that is so nice. These are strangers.”
Kim started the venture after she couldn’t afford huge prices for gym membership before they closed for lockdown. And, after admiring the work of Joe Wicks online, Kim thought she’d have a go. The mum added: “Gyms are expensive. I do everything for free. I’m self-taught and enjoy it. It became more and more popular and I think it shows I’m trying to show I’m a good person.
“At the end of the day, I was a shoplifter, not a paedophile or anything.” Kim, who says she started stealing food and clothes aged just nine to help support her parents and eight younger siblings, considers shoplifting an 'addiction'. She went on to steal larger household goods, including ovens, chests of drawers and other furniture from well-known retailers across London.
The former criminal took clothes and designer bags as her obsession grew over the decades. She said: “It is an addiction. I was addicted, just like people can be addicted to drugs or food. I overcame it and so, since the fitness classes, I’ve also helped people cope with addictions, which can be bad in times like lockdown.
“These people are inspired by my journey. Its strangers again who are addicted to anything, whether that be drugs, food or drink or whatever and I just help them. I just give them advice online through video calls or phone chats. I want to help because I know it is tough and I know I have changed. People don’t recognise that people can change.”
Kim is now determined for employers to trust her despite her shady past. However, she says she has been declined for hundreds of jobs, even one as an escort. In a TV documentary in 2016, the mum was refused to work at one escort agency in London because of her criminal record.