The return of Ray Jones, the greatest cat burglar in the world, ever!

I’ve known Paul Buck for years and the other day I went to see him do a talk in which he covered his entire career as a writer, from a recent true crime book to his involvement with heavy weight French theorists back in the day. While Paul has endless tales about the innumerable highbrow chancers he has known, when we spoke after his presentation I asked him about The E… List: Notorious Prison Escapes, and specifically whether my relative Ray “The Cat” Jones had featured in it. Paul said he had covered Raymond Jones. I’ve never met Ray but he is one of my mum’s many cousins and my uncles like to talk about him. Indeed, my mother was named Julia after Ray’s mother. This is what Paul has to say about Ray in his book:
“Frankie Fraser gives cat burglar Ray Jones his vote for the best single-handed escape, when he went over the wall at Pentonville Prison,  breaking both his legs in the process and yet still getting away. Fraser gives scant details, but somehow, in 1958, Jones managed to climb onto the prison roof and, in scaling down the sheer face of the outside wall, smashed one kneecap, then fell and broke his ankle. Nevertheless, he continued, scaled another wall, and broke the other leg when he jumped.
“Still he persisted, crawling into a block of flats and making his way onto a roof, where he fell headlong through a skylight as he tried to prise it open. When he regained consciousness he made his way out of the building, pulled himself along using the railings on the Caledonian Road, crawled across the road to King’s Cross station, over the railway lines and into someone’s garden. Eventually he decided to seek help and attracted the attention of some young men, asking them to give him a lift “because I had had a bad fall.” They guessed who he was, but didn’t betray him. After they left him at his relative’s flat, his wife arrived and arranged for him to stay elsewhere, where he remained for five months while recovering from his injuries. He was not recaptured for two years.”
I’d seen the Frankie Fraser book Paul picked this up from, and I’ve come across stories about Ray in various other tomes. Peter Scott who was trained up in the art of cat burglary by Jones includes poison pen portraits of my relative in his autobiography Gentleman Thief, and there are other criminal memoirs that include tales of Ray losing large sums of money in illegal gambling dens. Typical too that a pathetic middle-class fantasist like Scott would have his account of the post-war burglary scene published; whereas Ray Jones and his long time partner-in-crime George ‘Taters’ Chatham, who between them taught Scott this trade but came from working class families, weren’t given that kind of break – and unlike their apprentice they haven’t been handsomely rewarded for appearing on ‘reality’ TV shows like Channel Four’s The Heist either.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Rhodri Jones on 2009-01-24 09:59:35 +0000

THE surname Jones might seem as quintessentially Welsh as bara brith and Eisteddfodau, but a new book shows it is an import from England. Y Jonesiaid by Rocet Arwel Jones is published by Y Lolfa at £3.95. Among the remarkable people featured in it are Ray “The Cat” Jones of Nant-y-Glo. In the 1990s he confessed to stealing jewellery worth £185,000 from actress Sophia Loren more than 30 years earlier.

Comment by Tom Jones on 2009-01-24 11:20:53 +0000

Ray The Cat is one of my heroes, without his inspiration I wouldn’t be where I am today, sitting by the pool in my southern Californian home and working on my tan……

Comment by Jo “The Cooler” Jones on 2009-01-24 11:24:09 +0000

“Feral Cat Jones” could be the title for a catchy sequel to the song “Stray Cat …. A bright red spot of blood where Ray ‘Captain Hook’ Snarls got me. …

Comment by David Jones on 2009-01-24 11:27:51 +0000

Ray inspired my greatest song “The Laughing Gnome”….

Comment by Steve Jones on 2009-01-24 11:30:01 +0000

Don’t forget John Jones “Coch Bach y Bala” (1854-1913. )A petty thief famed for his ability to break out of prison. He was fatally shot after escaping from Ruthin jail.

Comment by Casey Jones on 2009-01-24 11:32:40 +0000

And then there’s David Iddon Jones of Aberystwyth. A leading light in the international Bolshevik movement. He knew Lenin, whose works he translated into English, and is buried in Moscow alongside many of Russia’s Bolshevik leaders.

Comment by Me & Mrs Jones on 2009-01-24 17:00:49 +0000

Dennis: Ow, people gather round me, it’s whom it may concern.
I’m not trying to run your life.
Melvin: But you’re never too old to learn, huh.
Dennis: Stop worrying about your neighbors and the fancy things they got.
‘Cause if you do you’ll find it sure, you’re gonna wind up on the spot.
Eddie: Don’t let the Jones
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Melvin: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Dennis: One more time.
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Woo, woo-oo-oo-oo
Paul: Huh, you may not believe it but nine times out of ten it’s true.
The people you’re trying to keep up with…
Melvin: Are trying to keep up too.
Eddie: Remember that old saying, “All that glitters ain’t gold”.
Take heed, don’t ignore it until your money time will hold. Oh
Eddie: Don’t let the Jones
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Melvin: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Eddie: Hear me now, now.
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Who-har-har-who-who, Who-har-har-do-do-do-do
Dennis: You’re lying to yourself but you don’t even know it.
You’re so busy following the Joneses, you ain’t got time to show it.
Keeping up with the Joneses, it’ll only makes your life a mess.
Bill collectors, tranquilizers and getting deeper in debt.
Eddie: You better leave…
Group: The Joneses alone.
Dennis: Tell ’em one more time.
Eddie: You better leave, oh leave…
Group: The Joneses alone.
Otis: Joneses got a new car today.
Dennis: Here’s what you should say…
Group: Harray for the Joneses!
Dennis: Instead you worry till your whole head turns gray.
Group: Worry ’bout the Joneses.
Melvin Remember it’s their car and they’re the ones who had to pay.
Group: So leave Jo-Jo-Joneses alone.
Dennis: Listen, your car might be old, but remember it never fails to get you where you want to go.
Eddie: Oh, don’t let the Jones
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Melvin: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Eddie: Hear me now, now.
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Group: You’re doing fine.
Don’t let the Joneses get you down.
Paul: Now listen, if you see something you want and you know you can’t afford it,
The very next thing for you to do is start saving towards it.
Dennis: The Joneses have been a downfall for many persons, you see.
So people, take my advice and let the Joneses be. Ow.
Eddie: Don’t let the Jones
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Melvin: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Eddie: Hear me now, now.
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Dennis: Don’t let the Jones
Group: Don’t let the Joneses
Group: Get you down, oh down.
Group: You’re doing fine.
Don’t let the Joneses get you down. (Whoo)
You’re doing fine.
Don’t let the Joneses get you down. (Whoo)
Do-do-do-do-do-do…(ect.) Boom-boom-boom-boom…(ect.)

Comment by Jonestown on 2009-01-24 17:04:37 +0000

1 (Proper) A common surname in English-speaking countries such as The U.S., The U.K., and Canada, the fourth-most common in the United States, according to the U.S. Census.
2 (n.) A slang term for heroin.
3 (n.) An addiction to heroin.
4 (n.) An extreme desire for something such as a drug, a food, etc. which could be considered on par with the desire associated with that of of a heroin addict.
5 (v.) To long for or desire something in such a way.

  1. Indiana Jones can make even that lame-ass fedora look cool.
  2. My brother just got shot in a drive-by, trying to score some jones off his dealer.
  3. Tom has taken up clawing at his flesh as a counter-measure to deal with his jones.
  4. I woke my girlfriend up and made her drive me all the way to Wal-mart when I started jonesing for some Cherry Coke.

Comment by Jesus Jones on 2009-01-24 18:06:47 +0000

We’re very happy to announce that our friends, Master and Servant opened for us at the Luminaire show in Kilburn on Oct 29th 2008. I think you’d have really enjoyed the show, so if you wanna go back in time…..

Comment by Vinnie Jones on 2009-01-24 18:12:16 +0000

Hey let’s all have a meet up south west London way… it’ll be a trip! Bring your Uncle Ray along…. shame your mum isn’t around… Welsh women are hot!

Comment by Janie Jones on 2009-01-24 18:16:18 +0000

I’m in love with rock n rol wwwhhhooo… and Ray The Cat is the new rock n roll!

Comment by Joe Jones on 2009-01-24 18:30:17 +0000

Ray The Cat is a spanner in your beat box!

Comment by Jonathan Jones on 2009-01-24 18:32:49 +0000

Am I the highest profile art critic not to have had a clone leaving comments on your blog to date? But for the record, Ray The Cat turned burglary into art!

Comment by John Jones on 2009-01-24 18:35:55 +0000

Listen mate, I can put Ray The Cat in the frame for the Sophia Loren jewel theft…..
At John Jones we are committed to finding the best bespoke solutions for our clients by offering a creative approach to the presentation of artwork. With forty years experience, our traditional craft has evolved within the world of fine art and contemporary design.
Each of our departments work closely with our clients to share advice on innovative materials, new techniques and to collaborate on ideas for the preparation, realisation and final presentation of artwork.
We have become the bench mark for quality in our field and an advisor on best practice and conservation. We believe it is this close attention to detail that makes us a unique company providing an essential service which has become part of the history of art.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-24 18:54:58 +0000

Shirt, I’m the first person on here not called Jones… but I rather suspect some of you aren’t using your real names……

Comment by George Jones on 2009-01-24 20:20:08 +0000

I feel great at the moment. In many ways, this is the best time of my life. I’m not fooling with alcohol or drugs anymore and I really feel in great health. I also quit smoking cigarettes when I had my car accident so I have a lot more breath control and can hit notes that I hadn’t hit for years.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-26 10:40:50 +0000

Groovy, sounds like that car accident really did wonders for your health!

Comment by tivvy on 2009-03-11 11:46:30 +0000

re : raymond jones
Ray died in 2001 , just so you know

Comment by tivvy on 2009-03-11 13:48:41 +0000

there was no doubt that he did the shophia loren robbery as he and one of his friends hid under her bed whilst she got ready for bed and went to sleep.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-03-12 11:28:17 +0000

Thanks Tivvy, I’ve blogged Ray again today (12 March), so a bit more on him there. I agree with you on Ray doing the Loren theft, and obviously Peter Scott who was Ray’s assistant is just an ungrateful scumbag for claiming otherwise. I don’t have an opinion on the paste jewels story that has done the rounds of the London underworld, don’t know if you can offer any insight into that? Also any further information you have on Ray would be great to see in the comments – from exact birth and death dates to anecdotes or info on some of the jobs he pulled off or his times in jail and escape escapades.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-03-30 12:52:52 +0000

Oh look what pingback does… you can pingback yourself!

Comment by Micheal Morgan on 2009-11-27 13:47:05 +0000

i got your voicemail on the phone, im in Dublin at the moment, sorry i couldnt keep the appointment, but please phone me again any day next week after tuesday
important… my phone number again 07904468686 please phone me to make another appointment so we can meet up this time for sure
every thanks Micheal Morgan

Comment by zack mitchell on 2009-12-24 13:11:20 +0000

hi, this is micheal morgans nephue, he asked me to tell mister trippy if he could phone micheal morgan again as he would like to speak to you again. you should have his number form the last time

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