AN INTERNATIONAL drug smuggler who landed a jail sentence in one of Europe’s toughest prisons has been signing copies of his book at a Kelty hairdressers.

Chet Sandhu, from Hartlepool, made vast amounts of money selling steroids and Valium by smuggling the substances in from Pakistan.

But in November 1999, the doorman was arrested at gunpoint in Alicante Airport in connection with a half-a-million dollar haul, the largest seizure of black market steroids in Spanish history.

Chet – real name Gurchettan Sandhu – was incarcerated alongside murderers, rapists and terrorists in the top security wing of Europe’s most infamous prison, Fontcalent, but came to dominate it through knife fights and rose to become the head of a loan shark ring.

In his book, ‘From King of Karachi to Lockdown in the Costa Del Crime’, Chet chronicles his life and time both inside and his playboy lifestyle on the outside.

But after turning his life around he has used some of the proceeds of the book to give back to charity, helping abandoned children in orphanages in the Far East.

He said: “I’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity and it goes to children born with AIDS and HIV that have been abandoned.

“I asked locals in Kelty to collect clothes and I will organise for it all to be shipped off to places like Cambodia, India, and Thailand.

“I go over every year so I can see exactly what they need.

“I didn’t intend to write a book but I wrote short stories and put them on Facebook.

“A publisher ended up seeing them and asked me to elaborate. I had to turn my life around. Jail ... I couldn’t do that anymore.

“I started working with some good people and it just sorted from there. I now make podcasts and I’ve got my own business selling CBD oil.

“Of course people can turn their life around.”

Sharon Smith, from Flawless Hairdressers, said: “It was quite strange, I know!

“I just got to know Chet through mutual friends and I noticed on Facebook that he was doing a book-signing so I thought I would get him to come along to the salon.

“He went from a bad boy to turning his life around and now does a lot of charity work.

“We’ve just been open five months so I’m just thinking about ideas.

“It was just something different and out of the box but we were mobbed all day! I couldn’t believe it.”

‘From King of Karachi to Lockdown in the Costa del Crime: Meet the International Smuggler Who Dominated Europe’s Worst Prison’ is published by Media Drum World and available on Amazon.