South East Wales

Ex-drug dealer Brian Morris becomes Caerphilly pastor

Pastor Brian Morris
Image caption The married father-of-five who will take up his new role in September has written a book about his experiences

A former drug dealer who was jailed for 12 years is to become a full-time minister at a Welsh village church.

The congregation at Oakdale Baptist Church near Caerphilly unanimously voted for Pastor Brian Morris to take up the role.

He had admitted to parishioners that he once had a £100-a-day heroin habit and was jailed for smuggling cocaine.

Mr Morris, 57, who has just graduated in theology at Cardiff University had been working part-time at the church.

He will take up his new position next month.

He was jailed for 12 years at Swansea Crown Court after being arrested when armed police raided a hotel where he was found with a kilo of cocaine.

He said: "I was sitting in a police cell waiting to be interviewed by police when I heard a little voice.

"It said 'this could be the chance to turn your life around, to become a better person'.

"It was like God shaking me awake and saying 'have I got your attention now?'."

He was locked up in Dartmoor where he began studying for the first time in his life and even launched a prayer group for other prisoners at the jail.

Image caption Pastor Morris still carries his old prison identity card as a reminder of his past

After five years he was freed on parole and joined the Baptist church where he trained to be a pastor.

He added: "I have come through a tumultuous time with lots of hurdles and I could have given up easily.

"To get voted in with my background shows people still trust me and that anyone can be forgiven."

The married father-of-five has written a book about his experiences called Chased by the Dragon, Caught by the Lamb.

And he has just completed a degree in theology after a two-year course at Cardiff University.

But he still carries his prison identity card as reminder of his past.

He added: "I don't hide what I've done - hopefully I can bring a bit of good through my story."

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