An ex-criminal has opened up about the dangers of gangs and drugs as part of a mission to deter the next generation from crime.

YouTuber and social media personality, Just Jah, is turning people in the right direction through his honest street life documentaries and podcasts.

It is over a year since Jah revealed his hard-hitting life story on popular podcast channel, kickinupdustmedia.

Now he is looking into his past in the hopes of building a better future for Bradford.

Growing up on the Canterbury estate, Jah had a troubled childhood and went to a pupil referal unit (PRU). 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Just Jah grew up in Canterbury and Great HortonJust Jah grew up in Canterbury and Great Horton (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

PRUs are an alternative to mainstream schools, targeting students who struggle with mainstream education.

By this time, he had already started going down the wrong path. 

After moving to Great Horton, he started getting involved in criminality.

“I started running away from home,” he said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Just Jah, picturedJust Jah, pictured (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

Jah was groomed into selling heroin and crack at 11 years old.

He said: “They said they would pay me £25 a day and at the end the week they didn’t pay me. I think they knew I was from a broken home and vunerable, so they took advantage.”

He was sent to Eastmoor Secure Unit after committing robberies at 14 years old.

He said: “When I arrived I wasn’t really scared, after a week or so I started to like it. I found some sort of peace, three meals a day, activities, people who seemed to care.”

It marked the start of a long cycle in and out of prison. He was involved in petty crimes, burglaries, robberies, gangs, and firearm offences.

“I was very angry at the world and people,” he said.

“I made a lot of money at points.

“But in that life all the people around just used me. I was blinded by false love, I thought these people were my family, my brothers."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Just Jah, picturedJust Jah, pictured (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

His illegal lifestyle came to a head when he nearly lost his leg in an axe attack. 

“I had 57 axe wounds according to hospital records,” he said.

“No one was there for me, I was alone.

“I got better. I had a card, clothes, watches but I started abusing drugs to block out all the pain and traumas in my life. It got to a point where I ended up going to Lynfield Mount. I broke down crying like, what’s happening to me? I was scared, I didn’t want to lose my mind.

“When I came out I knew I had to make a change for me, for my daughter, for my family.”

His struggle deepened after the loss of his best friend. 

“I knew I had to start speaking not just for me but for him and men in general,” Jah said.

“My main purpose of starting my channel was for my daughter so she can one day listen to me and understand what her dad went through. 

“I made an awkward video, posted it and the journey began from there.”

Jah had already started giving back to the community - including free boxing training for kids, talks in mainstream schools, and offering food and time to the homeless and drug addicts.

“It’s so rewarding where I am now and to have got through what I’ve gotten through,” he said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jah, pictured Jah, pictured (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

“I’m deeply sorry for the crimes I committed as a young man but I didn’t know any better. I hope I can be forgiven as I move forward on my journey, spreading love and positivity wherever I go.”

Jah believes more youth centres in Bradford would help the city’s most vulnerable young people.

Jah said: “People like me could deliver programmes, interact with kids, give them that safe space try and get into their minds, give them guidance.

“It has to be delivered from people like me.”

He urged those looking to escape criminality to explore meditation, let go of toxic friendships, and attend the gym.

His eyes were also opened through a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Thailand.

The YouTuber said: “I don’t think you’ll ever go back. Don’t think you’re going to do wrong and never suffer because you will, only a fool wants to be a career criminal.”