Teacher caught with drug stash

A FORMER prolific offender, who turned his life around and is now a Sunday School teacher, has today admitted he suffered a relapse but is back on the right track.

Naomi Cassidy

A FORMER prolific offender, who turned his life around and is now a Sunday School teacher, has today admitted he suffered a relapse but is back on the right track.

Simon Thurlow was a heroin addict with a history of offending for more than 20 years but early last year, it seemed he had kicked his habit and turned over a new leaf.

However in November last year he was caught by police with drugs on him and the case has now just come to court.

Today he spoke about how hard it can be to remain on the straight and narrow but is determined to give it another go.

Thurlow, 36, of Dover Road, Ipswich, said: “I had a relapse and I fell into my old behaviour. You have to watch out for that and be on your guard for it.”

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At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday Thurlow pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing heroin on September 14 last year.

He was fined £100 for each offence, ordered to pay £60 in costs and £15 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the case, he said: “It happened ages ago but the police are like a dog with a bone with things like this.

“Things are good again at the moment. I'm taking a Sunday School at the moment and I'm working in London.

“After the big article last year, you return to life as normal and that's when it is easy to relapse. I am still having treatment but I am clean now.”

Last year The Evening Star covered his story of hope as he vowed he had turned his back on his chaotic lifestyle, which had threatened his relationship with his family, including his son.

He was sent to jail in his teens and adapted to the criminal lifestyle, becoming addicted to hard drugs. It was an initiative launched by police and probation that changed his life for the better. After leaving prison in November 2006, he was approached by the Persistent and Other Priority Offender team, which helped to set him up in a job on the railways.

At the time, he said: “My life is golden now, it's never been so good. Every day is another reason to be happy.”

- Have you changed your life around for the better? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk