A man famous for appearing on hit television show Benefits Street has told how he was victim of a shocking sledgehammer attack in his own home.
Birmingham-native Stephen Smith, aka Smoggy, who now lives hundreds of miles away in Glasgow, was forced to flee raiders who broke into his flat and launched an attack on him with sledgehammer in 2014.
And it happened just a few weeks after the show aired on Channel 4, which saw him nicknamed “50p man” due to his business selling knock-off household items to locals.
The show only had nine episodes, spread across two series, and aired originally between January 6, 2014 and June 1, 2015.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: “I had a lot of publicity from some people for my 50p business after the show aired but I also had lots of negativity.
“Shortly after a headline in a newspaper came out saying I was earning thousands of pounds after being offered an opportunity by an entrepreneur, my flat was broken into and I was attacked by three men with sledgehammers.
“They thought I had money but I didn't – that was the final straw. There were headlines saying I had been given a brilliant opportunity and I had turned my nose up at it but it wasn't the case.
“Things weren't quite what they seemed – I was offered £10,000 to start up a shop but I knew that it would cost so much more to open up a shop. Instead I wanted a van so I could go round delivering my goods door-to-door.
“I would have been invested in a van, but in end I decided to walk away."
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Smoggy would later quite his business before heading up to Scotland to start a new life.
He added: “Due to the negativity I decided to knock the 50p business on the head, I was then offered a job selling fish door-to-door at a company in Warwickshire but it didn't work out.
“I decided I needed to get out of Birmingham, so I moved from Northfield up to Scotland.”
Smoggy hasn't been short of work, however, as he started painting and decorating an old people's home in Glasgow, before moving on to become a machine operator – however, after suffering a hand injury, he is now unfit to work and is currently on Universal Credit.
The father-of-two had previously served four months in HMP Birmingham for a “petty” crime in 2011.
Benefits Street was targeted by more then 300 complaints to Ofcom when it first aired, due to on-screen evidence of criminal activities, foul language and “misleading portrayals of welfare claimants”.
However, Channel 4 was cleared of all complaints – which totaled around 1,000 by the time the first series had ended.
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