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Ex-con keeping kids on the straight and narrow

PUBLISHED: 11:47 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 25 August 2010

JAIL:

JAIL:

A LIFE spent in and out of prison is not much of an example to lead but one ex-con is using his experiences to put youngsters off crime.

A LIFE spent in and out of prison is not much of an example to lead but one ex-con is using his experiences to put youngsters off crime.

Charles Young, 54, from Abbey Wood, is due to speak about his criminal past at the Marriot Hotel, Broadway, Bexleyheath, next Tuesday and Sunday at 7.30pm.

The father-of-three first went to prison when he was 14 for stealing two pork pies and two packets of biscuits.

He received three years and was sent to Wormwood Scrubs prison in West London.

For the next 30 years he was in trouble with the police and was last arrested when he was 40 for dealing with counterfeit money.

He refers to his life as a 'waste' and now speaks to youngsters to steer them away from a life of crime.

Mr Young said: "The kids respond well to me. I can take a group of young people and keep them interested for two hours.

"Kids today get called thugs and hoodies and people forget they are children.

"The children don't realise their potential. And then there is nothing in prison to rehabilitate them."

Having just secured a string of talks, including ones at Bromley College and Greenwich council, he hopes to prevent others from following the same route.

Despite his past, he does admit that the nature of crime has changed from when he was growing up on the streets of Charlton and Woolwich.

He added: "When I was a kid, we could have a fight and if the other one gave up, we stood back and shook hands. We didn't stamp on his head, shoot or stab him, like today. After, we would go down the pub and be the best of friends."

Even though the word 'respect' is used often by teenagers today, Mr Young thinks they don't really know the meaning of it.

He said: "They will learn it at some point but nine out of 10 times, it is too late."

Like many, he says the worst part of prison is dealing with the boredom, adding: "It is a complete waste of time."

Tickets for his Bexleyheath talks are £5 and can be bought on the door or in advance from barrybtltd@lycos.co.uk.


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