Scottish Daily Mail

Apprentice star faced charges over £20k of designer drugs

‘Hustler’ cleared...but husband convicted

- By Xantha Leatham

A SCOTS contestant on The Apprentice TV show once faced charges for dealing deadly drugs – and is married to a notorious dealer.

Beauty salon owner Natalie Hughes was accused of being involved in the supply of heroin and cocaine in 2011.

The 30-year-old appeared in the dock in the High Court in Glasgow with her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and former Morton football star Alex Williams. But the businesswo­man’s not guilty plea was accepted and she was acquitted in January 2013.

Her husband and Williams were cleared of supplying heroin and cocaine but convicted and jailed for supplying £20,000 worth of methylone and naphyrone.

Miss Hughes impressed producers of The Apprentice with her enterprise in setting up two beauty parlours in Glasgow, including the VIP Salon in Dennistoun. She is due to soon battle it out with other contestant­s on the show, which airs its first episode a week today.

Miss Hughes recently said in a BBC interview: ‘I’m a hustler. I’ve got the hustler’s ambition. It’s all I know. I’ve been hustling with all different walks of life and all different kinds of people. I’ve got a lot to bring to the table and I know I’ll be successful.

‘Failure is not an option for someone like me.’

She first registered her business in early 2014, and prides herself on her ability to buy and sell with ease. She said: ‘I’m number one in Scotland. It’s a fact. At the Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards I won salon of the year.

‘I would liken myself to someone like Gordon Ramsay because I’m very forward. I like to get the job done like he does, and I like to make changes in business.’

She made no mention of the charges she faced five years ago, when her husband and Williams were caught by police.

Officers found about a kilo of illegal stimulants in Williams’s car after seeing Miss Hughes’s husband walk along a street and pass a bag to him in the front seat. After admitting supplying methylone and naphyrone, her husband was jailed for 27 months while Williams received a 32-month sentence.

At the time of the offence, Miss Hughes’s husband was listed as living with her at an address in Glenboig, North Lanarkshir­e. The couple had a son in late 2011 and married in October last year.

Boundless, the PR company for The Apprentice, was asked about the drug-dealing past of Miss Hughes’s husband and her own not guilty plea to drug dealing.

A spokesman said: ‘Our policy is to make appropriat­e checks on all candidates, in common with standard television industry practice, and no criminal conviction­s were revealed.’

In all, nine men and nine women will vie with each other in the hit BBC show this autumn for the right to become Lord Sugar’s latest Apprentice, ranging from self-confessed ‘good bloke’ JD O’Brien, 37, who owns a beachwear firm, to IT consultant Karthik Nagesan, 33, who says his friends would describe him as a born leader and cites his role model as Alexander the Great.

Courtney Wood, 29, runs a novelty gift company, while Frances Bishop, 25, owns a children’s clothing firm, and Alana Spencer, 24, runs a cake business.

Car dealer Samuel Boateng, 27, sausage firm boss Oliver Nohl-Oser, 33, and fashion entreprene­ur Jessica Cunningham, 29, will also be competing against Miss Hughes when The Apprentice returns to BBC1 on Thursday, October 6.

‘Failure is not an option for me’

 ??  ?? Blonde ambition: Natalie Hughes wants to win The Apprentice
Blonde ambition: Natalie Hughes wants to win The Apprentice
 ??  ?? Fired with enthusiasm: Lord Sugar with the current crop of contestant­s seeking to impress him in the new series
Fired with enthusiasm: Lord Sugar with the current crop of contestant­s seeking to impress him in the new series
 ??  ?? Jail sentence: Alex Williams
Jail sentence: Alex Williams

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