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
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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.”