Ashley is proud of his Coventry upbringing, but when his mum, nan, sister and stepdad decided the family would move to Stourbridge to start a new life, the wrong crowds started to attract him.
“I’ve always been a jack-the-lad type of guy, tall and ginger with big hair,” Ashley jokes. “I’ve always kind of stuck out, and I found I just fitted in with the class clowns and the jokers. Things went from bad to worse for me. By the age of 13 I had started smoking and it wasn’t long before I was taking cannabis and getting into fights at school.”
Regularly suspended from school in his early teens, Ashley began dabbling with heavier drugs like ecstasy, and soon had a criminal record.
“The police didn’t scare me,” he says. “I had this thrill of the chase and being an adrenaline junkie at the same time.
“I got kicked out of school in Year 11, but I had decided at 16 years old that I was going to join the military.
“I was already on probation because I had been through the juvenile courts at this time. I got done for criminal damage, handling stolen goods, arson, burglary, all by the time I was expelled from school.