Recovering drug addict makes incredible transformation after release from prison

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A recovering drug addict who was hooked for 21 years deliberately got arrested just so he could go back to prison – and has since turned his life around.

Lee Sandilands, 39, has apologised to the people of Grimsby for his past actions.

Last March, he was released from prison and ended up being homeless.

Mr Sandilands slipped back into drugs and addiction and was “on several different drugs at the same time”.

He told Grimsby Live : “We were in the first lockdown and I was laid out the back of the Yorkshire Bank with a few others at around 4am I was just thinking ‘what the hell am I doing? I’m better off in prison’.

“I grabbed a brick and I threw it through the front window of The Friary pub in the town centre, it wasn’t anything against them, I just waited there to be arrested so I could be off the streets.”

Lee had been in and out of prison with numerous thefts dating back to 2001.

During his sentencing last April, the court heard that Lee took two bottles from the pub’s fridges, opening one bottle of wine and sipping it before leaving it and taking and drinking a bottle of Desperados.

He left via the back of the pub and went into the beer garden, where he waited for the police to come and arrest him.

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Lee said: “They gave me a suspended sentence and I was released straight out back into the drugs, the madness with nowhere to go.

“Through all of it the one person who stuck with me was my sister, she’d tried to get me into recovery and I’d had interviews for places that could help but things fell through.

“She even managed to get me a room in a shared house so at least I had a roof over my head, even if I wasn’t able to keep clean.”

Lee continued to battle his addictions and sought out the help of Cath and Ken Homewood – who run the Grimsby Food Kitchen – on the advice of his sister.

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The pair have been helping homeless and vulnerable of Grimsby since 2005.

Lee said: “Each day now flies, I’m trying to give back and help people, I have a lot of guilt about the damage that I’ve done and I’m trying my best to become a better citizen and a better person.

“I'm still due in court for some of the things that I’d done while I was in the madness, I want to send a message to the people of Grimsby to let them know that I’m sorry for what I did during those times.

“I also want to show other people that are struggling that there is a way out, that things can change around and you can get better.”

Lee is now continuing his recovery at Reflections House in Castleford, west Yorkshire.

  • Drugs

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