'The Apprentice' candidate reveals criminal past ahead of new series

Amy West
'The Apprentice' candidate Thomas Skinner has revealed he has a criminal record ahead of new series (BBC)

The Apprentice candidate Thomas Skinner has insisted he’s a “changed man” after revealing he was charged with handling stolen goods worth nearly £40,000 eight years ago.

The 28-year-old - who now owns a pillow and mattress company - revealed that he was sentenced after he was caught for buying 4,992 tubes of Body Shop cleansing gels and 2,000 diazepam tablets from an unreliable stockist.

During the trial, a friend of his was also convicted of handling 10,000 cleansing gels worth £76,000.

"Many years ago before I had my business, I used to work on the markets,” Essex-born Skinner explained in an interview with the Daily Mail. “I was young and naive and bought stock from a source I didn't know.

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“I wasn't aware the stock was stolen and paid the consequences for the mistake I made.”

'The Apprentice' stars on Wednesday 2 October at 9pm on BBC One (BBC)

Having learned his lesson from the experience, he went on to say that he now “only buys from trusted sources” and employs as little as five people to ensure everything is conducted as properly as possible.

"That is now well in my past and I have had a string of successful companies since then,” Skinner added. “I was put in situations I didn't fully understand when I was younger but they have made me the man I am now. I am a changed man."

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According to the publication, the popular BBC reality series was aware of Skinner’s past as they do thorough checks on every candidate that enters the infamous boardroom with Lord Alan Sugar.

Earlier in the week, Skinner described himself as impulsive.

““I am my own person,” he said. “When I plan, I always get it wrong.”

The Apprentice starts on Wednesday 2 October at 9pm on BBC One.