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Feature

How a Naples mafia boss ran his crime empire from a Lancashire caravan park

Not the usual hangout for a mafia don…

Jamie Roberts

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When you think of the extravagant homes of Italian mafia bosses, you probably don’t think of a caravan in Lancashire.

But that’s exactly where one mafia boss from Naples ended up, and Gennaro Panzuto recently revealed everything about his journey there in an interview with the BBC.

Panzuto, now 45, ended up at the caravan park just north of Preston after he was forced to leave Italy, due to an escalating gang war.

Back home in Naples, he’d risen up the ranks of the Camorra and had a reputation for being ruthless because of his actions during a violent inter-clan war, which ravaged the city over the winter of 2005.

During this war, Panzuto was linked to the murder of fellow gangster Graziano Borelli and needed somewhere to hide out. He’d met a British ‘businessman’ through his illegal activities who flew him to the UK, collecting him from Liverpool Airport in a Rolls Royce and taking him straight to the pub.

A police mugshot of Panzuto

The Italian rented a unit at the Six Arches Caravan Park in Scorton, and began working for his British host, firstly by sorting out a debtor ‘the Camorra way’ – he ended up attacking the man in a car park, headbutting him and throwing him to the floor.

Panzuto then moved on to carousel fraud – the theft of VAT – and was astonished at how easy it was to dodge the taxman in England compared to Italy.

While over here he was still commanding 1,500 criminal lieutenants back in Naples, but it all came crashing down in 2007 when British police came knocking – according to reports he politely surrendered.

Naples

One of his neighbours from the caravan park was shocked when the truth came out. Mick Bury initially came into contact with Panzuto when the Italian clipped his car – he gave Mr Bury a number to call, and within 20 minutes someone in a suit arrived and slipped him £200 in notes.

Mr Bury told the BBC: “No questions asked – he just wanted it sorted… The joke – when I went out with my friends – was, ‘Hey, you need to watch out, he might be a mafia man.’”

The two became friends, watching football together, and the mobster gave Mr Bury a pair of Tuscan leather dancing shoes that he still wears to this day.

Back in Italy Panzuto accepted a plea deal, meaning he could be out of prison next year, telling the BBC about his remorse for his crimes: “I am as ashamed as a dog. Murdering people doesn’t take anything – it just takes great cowardice. That’s all.”

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Feature

Artist creates haunting post-apocalyptic images of Manchester

This is so spooky…

Alex Watson

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James Chadderton Art

We’ve probably never been as close to an actual ‘apocalypse’ than this shoddy year…

James Chadderton is a British mixed-media artist who works consistently on creating apocalyptic landscapes.

They often show nightmare-inducing scenes of cityscapes that blend the line between reality and fiction.

James takes inspiration from dystopian films and video games, drawing the viewer into a crazy alternative reality. 

James Chadderton Art
James Chadderton Art

Using famous Manchester landmark he turns the urban landscapes into haunting post-apocalyptic scenes. 

Not only does it give us an insight into what the world might look like after an apocalypse, it gives you the chance to let your imagination run wild and wonder how and why. 

James’ portfolio includes work for Manchester legend Peter Hook, who he designed the cover of his EP 1101/2011 for. He’s also even worked with EA on the Battlefield franchise. 

His work has been displayed up and down the country but now you can have it in your very own home. 

James Chadderton Art
James Chadderton Art

He’s also done images of London, Liverpool and even the iconic Blackpool tower. 

You can see more images here and even buy one for your house! 

 

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Feature

What the stars of legendary ’90s show Gladiators are up to these days

Including prison, drugs and religion.

Alex Watson

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gldiatorstv/Instagram

It’s been 20 years since the hit ’90s show Gladiators graced our screens for the last time, but where are all the muscly stars now?

The fun-filled show was packed with dramatic battles, HUUUUGE muscles and too-tight lycra.

Let’s begin with Michael Ahearne, aka Warrior, who started life as a junior England rugby player before joining the hit show and earning up to £100,000 a year. 

In 1998 Ahearne was sent to prison for perverting the course of justice in a famous firearms case involved Phillip Glennon Jnr, an associate of former international cocaine baron Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren. He was found guilty, and Ahearne served six months of his 15-month sentence.

Then in 2018, he was subject to a police raid of his home in the Wirral where officers uncovered a stash of anabolic steroids. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class C drugs with intent to supply but wasn’t charged in the end – however, Ahearne was charged for possessing CS spray and received a six month sentence suspended for 12 months.

Sharron Davies, otherwise known as Amazon, was a successful swimmer before the show, even winning a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. She’s now a TV presenter.  

Mike Van Wijk, aka Wolf, was one of the most popular Gladiators, starring on the show for seven years in which time he became the main villain.

He’s now 67 and in the ‘best shape of his life’ with arms bigger than my head – he lives in New Zealand and owns his own business called Wolf’s Gym. This year, he announced on Lorraine that he’s begging producers to bring the show back. 

Diane Youdale, or Jet on the show, bowed out of the programme after four seasons due to a neck injury. She’s now a psychotherapist and pilates instructor. 

James ‘Hunter’ Crossley started on the show when he was just 19, and ended up secretly dating the show’s presenter Ulrika Jonsson between 1996 and 1997. Since Gladiators ended he spent years pursuing an acting career, but has consistently kept up with fitness. He’s now a personal trainer. 

Kim Betts, aka Lightning, was one of the toughest Gladiators. After bowing out of the Gladiator ring she took to property development and also has her own beauty parlour. She has maintained her physique and regularly posts gym photos on social media. 

Michael Wilson, known as Cobra, struggled with drink while on the show and by his own admission was sometimes ‘bleeding drunk’ while on the show. He admitted last year to press that he ‘didn’t take it too seriously’, adding: “There were end of show parties, when we had international Gladiators come over, we would be up all night boozing.”

Now, he is a motivational speaker attending schools and clubs up and down the country. He suffered with pneumonia last year and became seriously ill, blaming the tough workouts on the show for it. 

Jefferson ‘Shadow’ Kin found himself at the centre of a drug scandal in 1995. At the time he said: “There is no excuse for cheating. I was mixing with drugs before Gladiators and when I was tested during the show there were no traces of cocaine but they found steroids.”

He spent the best part of 20 years battling with drug addiction. He got clean and now works in a rehabilitation centre helping others with drug issues. 

Mark Smith, aka Rhino’, has made multiple TV appearances including a stint on EastEnders and in shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Warren Furman, known as Ace, became most well-known for his two-year engagement to Katie Price – who was then known as Jordan – before they broke up in 1999. However, he turned his back on show business, found god and now lives in York with his wife and two kids. 

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Feature

Inside the Wigan home ‘frozen in the 1970s’ that’s on the market for the first time ever

This is ICONIC!

Alex Watson

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Regan and Hallworth

If you love the ’70s you’ll love this house that is going on the market for the first time, which will transport you to the decade of platforms, flares and shag pile carpet. 

The family home in Wigan is thought to be going on the market for the first time ever, but inside is a ’70s lover’s dream.

Throughout the entire house is décor from the decade, including a retro orange sofa, plenty of frosted glass and shag carpets of course. 

It’s three bedroom and is tucked away in Parbold on Croasdale Drive.

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

Estate Agent Regan and Hallworth say that ‘despite requiring extensive modernisation’ the house ‘has an undeniably timeless appeal’.

You’ll also find teak wood storage units in just about every room, and plenty of earth-toned accessories throughout. 

Regan and Hallworth

There’s a huge copper fire place in the living room complimented by dark brown walls and a patterned ceiling. 

The kitchen is covered with white cabinets with a wood trim, an unusual corner sink situation, plus a fitted microwave on the lower half of the cabinets. 

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

The bathroom is covered in dark marble tiles and a frosted window above the bath, complimented by gold furnishing and trims on both the toilet and sink – plus a gold shower! 

For all the quirky features the house is actually surprisingly minimalist, it’s bright and has a big open plan living room. 

Regan and Hallworth

It’s also been designed with an upside-down layout meaning the bedrooms are on the ground floor while the living room is on the second floor, taking advantage of the views over the trees. 

The house is located on a leafy lane and features a glass-front, extensive driveway space with a double garage and plenty of greenery to enjoy from your orange sofa.

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

Regan and Hallworth add: “We don’t believe that ‘Beech Hill’ has ever been on the open market before and offers an incredibly rare opportunity for a wide range of buyers to purchase a home of true distinction with tons of potential without having to pay the huge premium you normally expect to pay to live in one of West Lancashire’s most sought after locations.

“Available with the added benefit of no upward chain, early viewing is highly recommended.”

Offers are in excess of £400,000. Find out more info here

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