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Glasgow Gangster Paul Ferris

Updated on January 31, 2013

Born in Glasgow in 1963, Paul Ferris claimed in one of his books that he became a gangster because he was bullied as a child. He was ruthlessly tormented by the Welsh family, the same family that was a thorn in the side of gangster Arthur Thompson, the Godfather.

The Welsh family have immediately piqued my interest, but so far I have been unable to find out much about them except that they were a family of out and out rogues who stole what they wanted and stabbed those who got in their way.

Aside from that, they don’t seem to have left their mark as there seems to be no web pages dedicated to them, and seeing as any reference to them came from real rogues, it might all be lies.

Paul Ferris claims he developed the skin condition psoriasis, a complaint that he has suffered from all of his life, thanks to a nervous condition brought on by the bullying he suffered as a child.

At some point in young Paul’s life, he turned, and became worse than the Welsh brothers ever could be, stabbing, maiming, knee-capping and just generally being a thug of the worst kind.

Paul Ferris
Paul Ferris

Early Life of Paul Ferris

Brought up in Blackhill, one of Glasgow’s smaller housing schemes, Ferris’s first taste of prison life happened in 1980 when aged just 17, he was remanded to Longriggend Remand Centre, which was an institution on the outskirts of Glasgow designed to contain young men awaiting trial.

When he was released on bail from there he led a police chase while driving a car full of weapons - shotguns and knives. He made his escape and went on the run for several weeks, but was eventually caught and returned to Longriggend. At court he was sentenced to 3 months in Glenochil Young Offenders Institution, with a further 1 year for the car chase.

Within weeks of his release, he was caught trying to rob a jewellers store and returned to Longriggend, which has since being closed after prison inspectors described it as a “breeding ground for criminals”.

Arthur Thompson, The Godfather
Arthur Thompson, The Godfather

Paul Ferris the Gangster

On his release he continued his life of crime, and it was at this point he became an enforcer for Arthur Thompson, the Godfather, who lived round the corner.

Still aged only 19, Paul Ferris was a thoroughly nasty piece of work, frequently taking part in knee-cappings (a favourite punishment of the IRA, which involved damaging someone’s kneecaps so that they became permanently incapacitated), blindings, stabbings and slashings (usually across the face with a razor blade to scar someone for life).

A year later he was accused of attempting to murder four members of the Devlin family as they returned home one night from a pub, by firing bullets at them, hitting one in the thigh. At his court case he was found ‘not proven’ which is Scottish legal speak for “we know you did it, we just can’t prove it”.

drugs and weapons
drugs and weapons

Interview with Paul Ferris

At age 21, Ferris was again arrested after pickaxe handles and knives were found in his car.

While out on bail (why did they keep giving this guy bail when he was obviously a danger to society?) he stabbed a motorist who, it was claimed, owed the Godfather drugs money, and also the dog who came to his master’s rescue. This was in the street in front of many witnesses, and Ferris fled to the Godfather's holiday hideaway on a Scottish island.

While there, police were tipped off as to his location and arrested him, finding class A drug heroin and yet more weapons in his possession. At court he was found “not guilty” on the drugs charges (his lawyer successfully argued that the police could have planted the drugs), but found guilty for having offensive weapons and jailed for 18 months.

The attempted murder charge was dropped by the victim; such was the power of the drugs barons in Glasgow. No doubt his family were threatened should he continue the prosecution of the perpetrator.

This was the turning point for Ferris as it was widely believed that the Godfather himself tipped off police as to his location. Perhaps even he felt that Ferris was a loose cannon, out of control.


Prison for Paul Ferris

Ferris served his time, and when he came out of prison he did not return to work for the Godfather. Instead he set up his own company selling double glazing and conservatories (where did the money come from?)

This would have been around 1986 and on the front of everything Paul Ferris was a respectable businessman, yet still active in the criminal underground, dealing class A drugs and supplying guns and weapons.

Arthur 'Fatboy' Thompson
Arthur 'Fatboy' Thompson

The murder of Fatboy Thompson

In 1991 Arthur Thomson Junior, known as “Fatboy” and son of Arthur Thompson a.k.a The Godfather was brutally gunned down outside his parent’s home in Blackhill.

Paul Ferris was suspected of having taken part in the murder and was detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure to await trial.

This move probably saved his life, as on the morning of Fatboy’s funeral, his two co-accused, Robert Glover and Joe Hanlon were both found dead in a car on the funeral route in the East end of Glasgow, each with a single bullet wound to the head.

When the case went to trial, it lasted a total of 54 days and cost a total of £4 million, the most expensive criminal trial in Scottish legal history.

At the end of it, a shocked public heard the court hand out a ‘not guilty’ verdict to Paul Ferris.

A broken man, Arthur Thompson senior died at home of natural causes just 3 years later.

The murder of Fatboy Thompson

Paul Ferris jailed at last

Meanwhile, Paul Ferris went from strength to strength, opening car dealerships and security firms with multi-million pound turnovers.

While he continued building his criminal empire he was in court once more in 1994 where he was given a £250 fine for having crack cocaine on his possession. He successfully argued in court that crack cocaine helped his psoriasis. It beggars belief that a court of law believed him and gave him such a paltry fine.

For those who don’t know, crack cocaine is arguably more addictive then heroin and is possibly the worst drug ever to hit our cities’ streets. An addict desperate for their next ‘hit’ of crack will do anything to get it, including carrying out acts of extreme violence that would normally be completely out of character.

The good life was coming to an end of Paul Ferris. In 1995, British Police sought the help of MI5 to bring him to justice. Two years later, he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons, conspiracy to deal in firearms and possessing explosives, and at the Old Bailey in 1998, he was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail. This sentence was later reduced to 7 years by London’s Court of Appeal.

Paul Ferris's beautiful wife, Carolyn
Paul Ferris's beautiful wife, Carolyn

Paul Ferris married and super-rich

While in jail, Paul Ferris co-authored his book “The Ferris Conspiracy” with crime author Reg McKay, which sold 20,000 copies while he was still banged up.

Paul Ferris was released from prison in June 2002, less than 4 years after being sentenced.

You wonder what on Earth the authorities were thinking of, giving this man’s extremely violent history. Since then he has co-authored 3 more books - Deadly Divisions, Vendetta and Villains.

Since his release, Paul Ferris has started yet more companies, one being Frontline Security which has strangely managed to secure contracts from the police to guard speed cameras on the M8 motorway and contracts to guard Dumbarton Sheriff Court among others.

Frontline Security were also guarding Rosepark Nursing Home at the time of a fire outbreak which killed 14 pensioners, which just goes to show how good they really were.

He has also since become something of a TV celebrity, appearing on several shows, and now a film is in the planning to be made of his life.

Ferris has even found himself a beautiful young wife (daughter of a retired police officer!), and has two small children. The newspapers openly describe him as a multi-millionaire who owns several upmarket properties, and he is to all intents and purposes a respectable business and family man.

Paul Ferris had nothing to do with heroin

* Since originally publishing this article in 2010, Paul Ferris has been in touch with me to deny ever having anything to do with heroin.

Paul Ferris
Paul Ferris

Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris - crime pays

Let us not forget that this man has been responsible for ruining thousands of young lives the length and breadth of Britain.

By introducing heroin, or for being an enforcer for those who introduced heroin, he must take the responsibility for the shattered lives left behind as addiction took its hold and left children without parents and parents without children.

The drugs trade is horrendous. New addicts are entrapped by the handing out of free samples at school gates, thereby insidiously ensnaring young users into a life of addiction and death.

Those behind it should never be allowed to profit from their crimes. Yet here is one Paul Ferris, who was born into a working class family in a depressed area of the city, who helped establish Glasgow’s bad reputation as a city of violent criminals, and who has sentenced a generation of its youngsters to a life of drug addiction and poverty, walking away a multi-millionaire and a butter-wouldn’t-melt expression on his face.

The word “scum” doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Efforts are being made to stop people like Paul Ferris profiting from their crimes by writing books about them


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    • Joan King profile image

      Joan King 6 years ago

      Very interesting

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks Joan. There are guys like this in every city, unfortunately. Just watch out for those driving the best cars or owning the best houses, without having a professional or otherwise obvious source of income.

    • SmartAndFun profile image

      SmartAndFun 4 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting article, Izzy. It's crazy that he was able to profit from his story about being a criminal. That is not allowed in the USA, and victims and their families may sue for any money the criminal happens to make as a result of his/her notoriety. Are there any laws like that in Scotland? I suppose he would have gotten rich from the security companies, anyway. Also interesting that he married a policeman's daughter! I wonder how his father-in-law feels about him?

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Well, there is the Proceeds of Crime Act which would prevent him from profiting from his crimes, but this Law seems to just 'miss' some people. Of course, here in the UK the Masonic Lodge is alive and well - not saying Paul F is a mason but most policemen are.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 4 years ago

      An amazing article! Captivated from beginning to end.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      You don't think I might get murdered in my bed, then? LOL Thanks!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Depends. How much did you rip him off for on those cab fares? :p

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      LMAO!! Do you think he remembers?

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