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Peter Stringfellow says prison was best error

Peter Stringfellow at the Abbeydale Cinema  with his fiancee Bella Wright

Peter Stringfellow at the Abbeydale Cinema with his fiancee Bella Wright

SHEFFIELD club king Peter Stringfellow has spoken of the short spell in prison he spent in his youth - which turned out to be one of his greatest mistakes.

The 70-year-old nightclub owner was a 20-year-old newlywed in 1960 when he was promoted to work as a door-to-door sales manager for a Sheffield company.

“I was flash,” he said. “I bought a suit and even tried to grow a moustache.

“I had to go to warehouses to sign out stock for us to sell. At the time, we were selling carpets for £10, but at the end of one week I saw that I had 10 carpets left over, which I hadn’t signed out.

“Any normal law-fearing person would have returned them, but I thought, ‘What can I make out of this?’ and I sold them on for £5 each.”

The steelworker’s son said he started to use his charm to continue his con, taking 30 carpets at a time but signing out only 15.

“But one day I got caught by two undercover police, and I was arrested along with three other managers. In the dock, one of the managers cried and the judge said he seemed remorseful and fined him £100. When it came to me, I pretended to cry into a handkerchief but the judge saw right through me.

“He said, ‘You, Mr Stringfellow, are a different kettle of fish. You think you’re quite flash for your age. You’re glib. You need to be taught a sharp lesson’. I was sentenced to three months in prison.”

Now a father and grandfather, and remarried to former ballerina Bella Wright, Stringfellow says the judge was right.

“I needed a lesson. Prison made me never want to go back. Now I pay my taxes, have no offshore accounts, and everything I do is 100 per cent legal.”

And he added: “What my mistakes have told me is that if, by 21, anyone hasn’t had any failure, they will never know how good success is.”

 

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