Adkins started his career in robbery and, as with many criminal figures during that period, moved into drug smuggling, primarily cannabis. He had a reputation for a quick temper and for being very physically imposing and strong and was a feared figure for many years. Adkins was implicated in April 1990 in the murder in Spain of ex train robber Charles Wilson although this was never proven.
Adkins was involved in a fight and shoot out with Bruinsma in the famous Amsterdam night club/brothel Yab Yum and his refusal to submit or back down to Bruinsma is widely believed to have directly led to his murder.
He was shot dead in the Nightwatch bar of the American Hotel in Amsterdam on 28 September 1990.