A KEIGHLEY man who was on the verge of prison as a teenager has spoken of how it’s never too late to turn your life around.

Pete Dowthwaite was addicted to drugs by the time he was 14, excluded from schools and constantly in trouble with the police.

But after “knuckling down” and embarking on a working life, his transformed fortunes have culminated with the opening of a new business.

Pete has launched his own shop – On Time – in North Street, Keighley, offering key cutting, watch and shoe repairs, batteries and locksmith services.

“I made things difficult for myself as a youth,” said Pete, who is now 32.

“I just wouldn’t listen to anyone. I got addicted to weed and cocaine and was forever getting into trouble, having the police come around.”

He spent time in and out of care and foster homes and living on the streets.

And he was drawn into begging and shoplifting to fund his drug habit.

Conversion of landmark Keighley building could help boost cycle tourism

“I even reached the point of drinking from the river when I was thirsty,” said Pete.

“After sleeping outside for so long, things started having an impact. I didn’t want to be here any more – I contemplated numerous ways to end it.”

It was after appearing back in court and receiving an anti-social behaviour order that he determined to sort himself out.

He was given his opportunity at Home Bargains, in Bingley.

“I was open and honest with the then manager about my past – he said it wasn’t for him to judge and he offered me the job,” said Pete.

“I was delighted that someone saw something in me. He took some money out of his wallet and told me to go buy myself a pair of black pants and black shoes – a T-shirt was provided – and I started work the following day.”

Pete then later worked for Timpson for eight years.

“It’s an amazingly-run company – I took real pride in my work and inspiration from it and decided to give this type of business a go for myself,” he said.

“I have been completely drug and trouble free now since I was 19.

“Life has been a real rollercoaster, but I want to get the message across that it’s never too late to turn things around and do something positive with your life whatever problems you’ve had.”