Tyneside looking for some thug passion

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Reformed criminal Paul Ferris is reunited with former jail mate Stephen Sayers during a trip to Newcastle. Locked up together in the North East's toughest jail, gangster Paul Ferris and Tyneside's notorious Sayers brothers formed a special bond. The Scottish reformed criminal was this week reunited with his former jail pal Stephen Sayers during a trip to Newcastle to launch his new book. Now Ferris, who turned his back on crime and became an author, has revealed how he would never have been able to write his first book without the help of North East prisoners in HMP Frankland and Stephen, who served time at the high security jail at the same time.

And the year-old has told how the friendship formed behind bars has stood the test of time, even after he and Stephen went straight. Saying you are going straight is easy. But 16 years later I must have done something right, but I don't feel like there was enough help. From the age of 19 he worked as an enforcer for the city's underworld figure Arthur Thompson, who was known as 'The Godfather'.

When Thompson's son, Arthur Jnr was shot dead inafter Ferris parted company with the crime boss, he was arrested and charged with murder. While he was on remand his suspected accomplices Robert Glover and Joe "Bananas" Hanlon were found shot dead in a car, on the day of the victim's funeral.

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Ferris stood trial in accused of the murder and other charges, including supplying drugs and possessing a firearm. But he was acquitted of all charges, following what was one of the most expensive trials in Scottish legal history. Ferris, however, found himself back behind bars after being arrested in London in following a two-year surveillance operation by MI5 and the Special Branch. He was jailed for 10 years after being convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons, conspiracy to deal in firearms and possessing explosives, although the sentence was reduced to seven years after an appeal.

As a high-risk Category A prisoner, Ferris was not told that his request to be moved to a prison further North had been granted, until Sayers told him.

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I said: 'Can I go as North as possible. Ferris was initially sent to Full Sutton, near Pocklington. Here he met John Sayers in the reception area. So he got my cell and I got his cell. However, he said this would not have been possible had he not met the other Sayers brothers, Stephen and Michael, who helped prevent his correspondence with Reg being intercepted by prison staff.

I said: 'I'm writing a new book, I need help. I need names that can accept postal correspondance'. They were all Geordie boys, and that's how the first book was done. Ferris also has found memories of some of the more humorous moments spent behind bars with the Sayers brothers.

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He recalls a time when prisoners were required to take part in a roll play exercise and Stephen got all the other inmates laughing. The now-reformed criminal was asked to play the role of a shopkeeper, but simply insisted his shop was closed, Ferris recalled. Reg lost his battle with cancer inand Ferris was initially reluctant to publish any more books without his long-term writing partner. However, after teaming-up with Mr Wraith and Mr Wheatman, he decided that Unfinished Business could be a fitting tribute to Reg, and pick up where he left off.

Th book explores conspiracies around Ferris' convictions and acquittals, and lays bare how he survived his life of crime. The readers can act as the jury," he said. I have had feedback from parents. If the book is a vehicle for a parent to say: 'you don't want to end up in this situation' then great.

I asked him about doing another book and at first he said 'no' but I think that prompted something in Paul to do that tribute to Reg. By Sophie Doughty. Subscribe We use your -up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info. Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice.

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Tyneside looking for some thug passion

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