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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Ex-drug dealer sets up successful business

WHEN his criminal career came crashing down around him, Dave Hardman had some tough decisions to make.

Rather than wallow in prison, the convicted drug dealer vowed he would use his four-year sentence to turn his life around.

Now, with a successful business to his name and his family behind him, the 37-year-old Ulverston resident claims he will never go back.

Having just moved into his new Lightburn Avenue home, Mr Hardman is rejoicing that he has his own office.

It’s a dream come true for the father of one, who set up his web design business, Genesis 2 Revolution, from his living room three years ago.

His talents have secured him work from companies across the area – and have even led to a string of assignments for businesses in America.

Back in 2006 he was jailed for possession with intent to supply after two drug busts at his Ulverston town which recovered £10,000-worth of amphetamine and cocaine.

Before his conviction, life was very different for Barrow-born Mr Hardman.

He said: “People who commit burglaries are horrible people because they involve innocent people.

“I was a criminal but people came to me for the drugs. It only ever involved people who were already in my world.”

He told the Evening Mail: “But the damage it caused to my family, I really regret that a lot.

“There’s no going back for me now.

“I wouldn’t have grafted as hard as I have for the past five years if there was any chance of me living that life again.

“I’m so much happier with my lifestyle now.”

Facing a potential sentence of up to 12 years for his law-breaking enterprises, Mr Hardman was inspired to begin a graphic design course at the remand centre HMP Preston.

In the end he received a four-year custodial term – by which time he had already decided to change the course of his life.

He said: “I was facing anything up to 12 years and on the third night in prison I thought, I can’t do this,” he explained.

“But there’s alternative. You have to get on with it.

“So I decided to use the time inside to make sure I was self sufficient when I got out.”

With time on his hands, Mr Hardman embarked on an educational roller coaster than saw him spend eight hours a day in classes and a further four hours at night studying in his cell.

In his two years in custody, he clocked up a record 41 qualifications in IT, graphic design and web design.

His dedication and skill led to him designing the prison’s annual report, which was submitted to the Home Office.

He then arranged a transfer to HMP Kirkham Prison in order to complete its IT maintenance course in return for designing another annual report.

Mr Hardman said: “Remand prisons aren’t the easiest – Haverigg would have been nicer to be honest.

“But I was committed to the courses I was doing so I fought to stay where I was.”

He went on: “I knew nobody would employ me when I got out so I wanted something I could set up on my own.”

Furness Enterprise came to the rescue on Mr Hardman’s release in 2008 with a Start Up Business course.

By May, 2009, he had set up on his own – with a full and frank explanation on his website of how he came to be where he is.

“Why lie about it,” Mr Hardman said.

“I wanted to be honest, so I thought I may as well start by being upfront about where I completed my training.

“There’s no point concealing it and having people find out further down the line and then pull out of projects I’m working on for them.”

Building the business from scratch has not been the only achievement for Mr Hardman over the past three years.

He has since begun slowly rebuilding his relationship with his daughter, 15, who he did not see for 11 years.

“I could never do it before because I was leading a temporary life.

“It’s baby steps, but it’s a better reward than anything I could have had before.”

He has also kindled a love of Dogue de Bordeaux dogs – of which he now has two – which has led to work for breeders in America.

Mr Hardman said: “I’ve always loved these dogs but could never have them in the past because people would have assumed it was for protection.

“But I’ve done a number of design projects now for breeders and kennels in America.

“It’s been great.”

With a brighter future than ever before, Mr Hardman is now looking forward to progressing his business in his new home office with his partner and her three children.

“Perhaps people like my work because I didn’t train through the usual route and my work is a bit different because of it,” he explained.

“One thing's for certain, I’m staying on this path. There’s no going back.”

He added: “There are actually very few real criminals in prison, but a lot of lads who have made one silly mistake.

“I just hope they can see what I've done and realise that they can do something on their own when they get out, even if no-one will give them a job.”

 

Have your say

I am really proud of you. You are definitely as inspiration to others. I'm going to him my 43 year old son read your article. He has 5 felonies for the same charges you had. Now he's on two years paper. If he return to dealing drugs, he's subject to get life. I'm hoping after reading your story he'll be able to see light at the end of the tunnel. If you would like to offer him encouragement his email address is twalker2663@yahoo.com. Thank you so much for sharing your life.

Posted by Marcy on 12 September 2012 at 11:52

Good on him. I'm glad he's turned his life around. 41 qualifications in 2 years? Prison was probably one of the best things that ever happened to him yet one of the worst.

His portfolio is pretty impressive, especially the dog shield one.

Posted by Andy on 27 June 2012 at 09:44

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