Swineshead History Montage

Swineshead Delaney


Delaney the Cat Burglar

Swineshead Association for the Prosecution of Felons

Robert Augustus Delaney was of Irish descent but came to England from South Africa with the South African Heavy Artillary to fight in the First World War. He married a rich widow from Swineshead and came to live in the village for a while. The marriage was not entirely a success and when Robert had spent all her money he left with another woman and eventually took to a life of crime.


He became a notorious ‘cat burglar’ in London and he had many adventures, often escaping the law by the skin of his teeth. His modus operandi was to get to know society ladies at afternoon tea dances and acquaint himself with their routines, then knowing when they would be out, he climbed the drainpipes of their houses and let himself in by a window.  He then helped himself to their jewels.


His escapades were reported in the national newspapers but eventually he was caught and spent time in prison. However when he was released he immediately went back to his old way of life. He always thought he could get away with it and didn’t seem to realise that he was under surveillance each time he was released.  His periods of freedom became shorter and shorter.  As he grew older he began to train boys to shin up the drainpipes for him and led them into a life of crime too.


Delaney was a bigamist, a thief and a con-man and his career is set out in a book by local historian and author Pamela Southworth entitled Delaney the Cat Burglar.  It can be purchased at most bookshops for £5 and the ISBN number is 1 902882 56 3. 

Or go to www.kaybooksonline.co.uk  where it can be purchased directly from the publisher.