A young man has turned his life around after being jailed for possession of a gun eight years ago.

Niyah Smith, 27, was sentenced to eight years and six months’ imprisonment, aged 20, after being caught, alongside a friend, driving an Audi A3 through Wood Green armed with a gun.

The incident was reported in the East London Guardian in December 2012.

Niyah served four years and three months at five different prisons – Feltham, Littlehey, Highpoint, Warren Hill, and Hollesley Bay.

He is now an artist and recording manager at record label 54 London, a subsidiary label at Universal created by rap star – and childhood friend of Niyah’s – Stefflon Don, real name Stephanie Allen.

Niyah says he realised he had to change his life the moment he got sentence.

“I fell in with the wrong crowd at the wrong time”, he said. “But that is my only conviction. The judge couldn’t believe I was up on that kind of charge with no priors.

“For me the process started when I got sentenced. It wasn’t towards the end of my sentence, that process began at the beginning. I kept my head down and worked hard. I did not get in any trouble while I was away, I just pushed myself to achieve.”

During his time in prison Niyah studied for several qualifications.

He secured an HGV (heavy goods vehicle) driving license while in prison and also studied music business.

Niyah says youth support Ney Horizon was instrumental in helping him find the right courses and providing him with material to help him study.

“They were sending me lots of information on the music industry and how record labels worked. Sending leaflets, books and magazines.

“When I got out I decided to put the information New Horizon gave me to use into the real world and studied at Notting Hill Academy doing music business and artist management.

The 27-year-old, who is balancing work with an Open University course on digital marketing, said: “Some people when they go to prison may think that is the end, but that’s why I wanted to share my story, to let other people in a similar situation know that they can turn it around if they work hard.”