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an old poacher makes the best gamekeeper

proverb People who have a lot of experience in a criminal activity are the ones best suited to trying to protect against that activity later in life. A: "I heard that computer company is planning on hiring renowned hackers to run their security infrastructure." B: "Well, old poachers make the best gamekeepers." A: "The new sheriff used to be a notorious thief?" B: "Hey, you know what they say—an old poacher makes the best gamekeeper."
See also: gamekeeper, make, old, poacher

poacher turned gamekeeper

A person whose job or role has completely changed, from one extreme to another. Primarily heard in UK. The notorious computer hacker who once stole money from unsuspecting Internet users now helps the government catch other hackers—it's a strange case of poacher turned gamekeeper.
See also: gamekeeper, poacher, turn
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

old poacher makes the best gamekeeper

Prov. The best person to guard something is someone who knows all about how to steal it, so he or she can anticipate what thieves might do. We should hire the computer hacker to design computer security systems. An old poacher makes the best gamekeeper.
See also: gamekeeper, make, old, poacher
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

poacher turned gamekeeper

If you describe someone as poacher turned gamekeeper, you mean that they have changed their job or opinion and now have authority over the same sort of people that they were themselves before. She returns as poacher turned gamekeeper. Previously a union leader, she now works for the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals. Gary Mason, boxing's poacher turned gamekeeper, will make his managerial debut tomorrow. Note: You can also say that someone is gamekeeper turned poacher, when someone who was in authority changes to a situation where they need to be controlled by others. He used to manage properties for other landlords. Now the gamekeeper turned poacher has to find occupiers for his own building. Note: A poacher is someone who illegally hunts animals such as deer, pheasant or salmon. A gamekeeper is someone employed by a landowner to look after these animals, which are known as game.
See also: gamekeeper, poacher, turn
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

poacher turned gamekeeper

someone who now protects the interests which they previously attacked.
See also: gamekeeper, poacher, turn
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

poacher turned ˈgamekeeper

(British English) a person who has changed from one situation or attitude to the opposite one, especially somebody who used to oppose people in authority but is now in a position of authority: He used to represent an oil company but now works for an environmental organization; a real case of the poacher turned gamekeeper.
See also: gamekeeper, poacher, turn
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
The gamekeeper was now relieved from his anxiety, and Mr Allworthy himself began to be concerned at Tom's sufferings: for besides that Mr Thwackum, being highly enraged that he was not able to make the boy say what he himself pleased, had carried his severity much beyond the good man's intention, this latter began now to suspect that the squire had been mistaken; which his extreme eagerness and anger seemed to make probable; and as for what the servants had said in confirmation of their master's account, he laid no great stress upon that.
Indeed I don't deserve it." And at that very instant, from the fulness of his heart, had almost betrayed the secret; but the good genius of the gamekeeper suggested to him what might be the consequence to the poor fellow, and this consideration sealed his lips.
'Never mind, Sir, never mind,' replied the long gamekeeper;
Weller, the long gamekeeper, and the two boys, to station themselves on the grass, at a little distance, and do good execution upon a decent proportion of the viands.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association confirmed Wilson's membership would be terminated.
One Grampian estate is now employing a security firm to safeguard employees after covert cameras were illegally deployed by campaigners to film gamekeepers' family homes.
Gamekeepers and conservationists gathered on nearby Ruabon moor to ensure lessons had been learned from Llantysilio's 40-day blaze.
Its nickname is "The Gamekeeper's Night Dog", which goes back to the breed's early history in the 19th century when they were bred by gamekeepers for strength, size and speed to ward off poachers.
A Stirling area military tribunal faced a number of claims from gamekeepers and rabbit trappers seeking exemption from Army service.
GAMEKEEPERS from nine shooting estates in the Peak District returned to Saddleworth Moor to help combat the devastating wildfire.
The shocking images are among several taken in the Peak District National Park of gamekeepers shooting and trapping wild animals in a bid to stop them killing grouse as the bird hunting season nears.
Mr McMorn sought a judicial review of a 2014 decision, backed by the National Gamekeepers Organisation.
Lindsay Waddell of Newbiggin-in-Teesdale is one of just a handful of gamekeepers from throughout the country to earn a CLA Long Service Medal.
Well, driven grouse shooting depends on gamekeepers - and the legal predator control and habitat management work done by them.
Overland Park, KS, January 08, 2015 --( Vail Products[R] of Horton, KS, a leading manufacturer of aftermarket severe-duty construction equipment attachments and land management tools, has renewed its television partnership with Gamekeepers of Mossy Oak for the series' 2015 schedule on the Pursuit Channel.