CONTROVERSIAL Kirklees Council election candidate Shehzad Hussain insists that his fraud conviction has made him a better person.
Mr Hussain spoke exclusively to The Press about the time he was given a suspended jail sentence for selling counterfeit clothes.
Leeds Crown Court was told in 2008 that he rented a warehouse from 2001 and opened an eBay account in November 2004.
More than 4,400 items of clothing were sold under his user name of ‘Twin Towers 11’ from February 2005.
Letters of complaint from customers were found at the warehouse along with documents showing he had given refunds.
Mr Hussain said: “This was the only error of judgement in my life. I’ve never been in trouble with the police before or since.
“My life was very difficult at the time. I was unemployed, had a family and was too proud to claim benefits because I’d worked all my life.”
After his conviction Mr Hussain completed qualifications that allowed him to work with young people.
He said: “Over the years I’ve been awarded and recommended for awards for working with young people and the issues affecting them.
“My hard work and commitment to give young people a better start in life is highly respected.”
Mr Hussain knows he will never fully escape the shadow of his conviction and said: “I’m fully prepared for attacks on my personal life.
“I know the offence will be brought up again and again. But Labour and other parties should concentrate on more serious issues.”
He cited police figures for young people involved in crime as the reason why he is standing for election.
Mr Hussain said: “There are no role models, peer support or guidance, to help them into adulthood.
“They therefore get into criminal activity at an early age without knowing the consequences it will have on their lives.
“I share my experiences and try to get them into training, education and employment and away from gangs, drugs and criminal activity.”