A film star once known for being “the UK’s number one gun-toting gangster” has spoken of his new life on the Kent coast.
Ashley Walters, who is best known for starring in Netflix crime drama Top Boy, relocated to the Herne Bay area with his wife, actor Danielle Isaie, and their two children.
The 39-year-old says moving to the seaside was an aspiration of his after being released from prison.
In an interview with the Guardian, the actor said: “I’ve always had that dream of a big house, gates, just away from everything.
“But it predominantly started when I came out of prison in the early 2000s. I saw London in a different light at that point.
“I realised how damaging it could be to you as a person, especially as a young black man.”
Mr Walters, who was a member of hip-hop group So Solid Crew, was jailed in 2002 for 18 months after carrying a loaded pistol that had been modified to fire live ammunition.
He describes his sentence as a “big wake-up call”, as it left him wondering: “How have I ended up becoming the UK’s number one gun-toting gangster on the front page of the papers?”
The celebrity started visiting Whitstable on weekends, regularly sampling the area’s oysters, before moving to the Bay, which he notes is not particularly “diverse”, last February.
“As soon as we moved in, we had cakes being brought to the door,” Mr Walters added.
“After the recent storm [they were] checking that we’re OK: ‘We noticed your gate’s blown off, do you want us to help you fix it?’
“For us, it was like ‘what do they want?’ because you are just so not used to that in London.”
Mr Walters was speaking to the newspaper ahead of the release of the next series of Top Boy on Netflix this Friday.