A shoplifting gran who stole £2 million in food, designer clothes and household goods claims to have turned her life around by becoming an online personal trainer during lockdown.
‘Shoplifting queen’ Kim Farry, 59, was jailed five times for theft during a 45-year criminal career.
However, she has vowed to never return to her old lifestyle after dedicating herself to leading online fitness classes and addiction workshops.
Speaking from her council house in Fulham, southwest London, Kim 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. It’s 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.’
The grandma-of-ten started taking food and clothes at the age of nine to help support her parents and eight younger siblings.
As her ‘addiction’ to shoplifting grew, she graduated to stealing household items like ovens and chest of drawers, before getting her hands on clothes and designer bags.
Kim was labelled ‘Britain’s most shameless shoplifter’ in 2015 after announcing she wouldn’t take a job unless it paid £36,000 a year – £14,000 less than she earned from shoplifting annually.
The mum-of-six attempted to reform herself by applying for jobs while living off benefits and staying in a rent-free flat in Fulham.
However, she says she was rejected by hundreds of employers who said they couldn’t trust her.
A TV documentary that aired in 2016 saw an escort agency refuse to hire her due to her criminal record.
But the former cleaner says she is now desperately trying to improve her image and is hoping her new job will ‘finally give her a break in life’.
Kim started her fitness classes during the coronavirus lockdown after seeing Joe Wicks gain huge success with his own.
She said: ‘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.’
She added: ‘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 of 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.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.