A Benefits Street star who was filmed brazenly shoplifting on camera complained today how Channel 4 has put his life in danger after he was inundated with DEATH THREATS.
Danny Smith, 31, was accused on giving “‘lessons in shoplifting” after being filmed explaining how to dodge security alarms and how to remove security tags from clothes.
The thief was shown pinching from shops around Birmingham city centre camera with pal ‘Fungi’ – sparking over 200 complaints to Ofcom after the show’s explosive first episode.
During the programme, in which he bragged he had 80 previous convictions for over 200 offences, Danny was seen fleeing James Turner Street after a neighbours cannabis plants were stolen.
And speaking for the first time since the show aired on January 6 the prolific crook accused producers of wrongly implicating him in the cannabis theft.
As a result, he says dangerous drug dealers and violent gangsters from the Winson Green area of the city are trying to track him down to kill him.
The father-of-three said: “It’s put my life in danger – there’s now people in the area that want me dead.
“They said a lot of cannabis plants had gone missing from James Turner Street and that I’d gone missing – implying it was me.
“I heard about the cannabis going missing, but suddenly I was getting the blame.
“I’m a wanted man on the street. I’ve had to move away from the area and so have m whole family. I can’t even go and pick my kids up.
“I’m stuck in an area where I’m having to hide.”
Danny, who says he was “at a low ebb” when the show was filmed, watched the first episode from behind bars after being jailed for five months for theft and breaching an ASBO.
Yesterday he also claimed programme-makers “filled” alcoholic star Fungi with drink every morning to make him more compliant.
He said: “They were filling Fungi with drink every morning.
“That’s what they were all about, otherwise the majority of the people on the street would no have spoken to them.
“Anyone can convince a crack-head or an alcoholic.
“I went to jail as a youngster then went back in 2003. I stayed out of trouble until about 18-months-ago.”
Danny also moaned that producers refused to allow him to see previews of the show despite allowing the other stars to.
And he said he was also frozen out of revisiting show the Last Word, which aired on Monday (17/2).
He added: “I asked to appear in the Last Word so I could put my side forward, but no-one from Love Productions ever got back to me.
“Everyone else was given the chance (to see previews of the show) but I wasn’t.”
Yesterday a spokesman for Channel 4 denied the allegations and said Smith was not shown a preview because he was in prison.
He said: “Programme one featured the reactions of some residents about the theft of cannabis plants from a house on James Turner Street.
“We strongly refute any suggestion that scenes have been set up or produced in any way or that any contributors were given bribes or gifts on condition of filming them.
“This is a strictly observational series made by an experienced team and filming followed strict protocols in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
“Danny Smith was in prison during the period when we were showing contributors the programmes.
“The Last Word included residents who featured across the series of Benefits Street and we couldn’t invite everyone.”