Born in 1765, Nadin worked as a spinner before it dawned on him that here was more money to be made as a thief-catcher. For each thief he took, the magistrates paid him £2 and gave him a Tyburn Ticket - a piece of paper exempting its holder from public office. He sold the tickets for cash - they were fetching between £350 and £400 each in 1816.
By 1803, Nadin had been appointed Manchester's deputy constable and launched out on a career of repression and corruption which targetted innocent men as well as criminals.
But it was in his dealings with reformers and radicals that Nadin was seen in the worst light.
Perhaps the best description we have of him is by radical Samuel Bamford: "Joseph Nadin was about 6ft 1n in height, with an uncommon breadth and solidity of frame. His head was full-sized, his complexion sallow, his hair dark and slightly grey; his features were broad and non-intellectual, his voice loud, his language coarse and illiterate, and his manner rude and overbearing to equals or inferiors.
"He was exceedingly crafty in his business, and somewhat unfeeling. He was certainly a somewhat remarkable person in uncommon times. He showed that he had the homely tact to take care of his own interests. He housed a good harvest whilst the sun was up, and retired to spend his evening in ease and plenty ..."
Nadin was one of the the prime movers in what led to the Peterloo Massacre. He was ordered by magistrate William Hulton to arrest Henry 'Orator' Hunt on the hustings at St Peter's Fields on August 16th, 1819 but, well aware of his own reputation, he declined.
Hulton asked: "Is it not possible for the police, aided by the special constables, to execute the warrant?" Nadin replied: Never with those special constables, nor with 10 times the number, nor with all the special constables in England."
At that point, Hulton agreed to use military force, with tragic consequences.
Nadin used his ill-gotten gains to buy a large estate in Cheshire when he retired in March, 1821. He enjoyed it until he died at the age of 83, in 1848.