The object of this study is to allow burglars and robbers to describe what they did and what they felt about it, with a view to learning more about why these activities take place and how they occur, told verbatim by the men themselves. To this end I have had 122 interviews with men in prison, asking them to describe their circumstances before their last offence, the details of the offence, how they chose victims and so on. From previous work (e.g. Maguire (1982)) we know that there are few single-minded specialists in crime, pursuing criminal careers, instead there are generalists doing what they notice or come across, with the right of refusal. In the discussion that follows the words ‘burglar’ and ‘robber’ are, however, used as if there were, but this is purely analytical convenience, a short-hand to describe the group. Further, there are detailed discussions of the role of the ‘burglar’ and the ‘robber’ (required to focus attention on essentials and to show deviations from an ideal type), but not intended to convey the impression that there are life-long specialists.