An East Lancashire pastor, who used to be a gangster who carried a gun and a drug addict, has written an autobiography.

Pastor Mick Fleming, from Burnley, has written ‘Blown Away: From Drug Dealer to Life Bringer’ and it currently available for pre-order.

Far from a conventional clergyman, Pastor Mick led a life of crime and addiction before having a religious experience which changed his life.

Lancashire Telegraph: Pastor Mick Fleming with his book, Blown Away: From Drug Dealer to Live BringerPastor Mick Fleming with his book, Blown Away: From Drug Dealer to Live Bringer

Far from an easy read, the book details the abuse he faced as a child, his life as a hardened criminal and drug dealer, as well as his suicide attempt.

Mick said: “It’s autobiography which is very sad, violent in places but very redemptive and about the change in my life.

“I wrote the book because so many people were asking me to do it, asking me questions and now the answers are all in the book.”

Mick said he went from being “a really nice little boy” to a “completely different person”, ending up in a world of criminality and a gangster.

He said: “I was involved with very bad people who did very bad things.”

However, things started to change 12 years ago when he had a religious experience.

He said: “I went to collect a debt and had a firearm wrapped in a carrier bag.

“They guy I went to collect the debt from had two kids with him and was holding their hands. There were lights shining off the hands.

“When I saw these lights I started to be sick, vomiting blood  - I couldn’t see. I was sweating and shaking.”

Mick then drove into a nearby industrial unit and said a prayer – but the reality of his life decisions overcame him.

He said: “In a split second, I had had enough and I had been using drugs and drink for years... I was a full blown addict.

“I put the gun under my chin and pulled the trigger – but it didn’t go off.

“I knew this gun and knew it wouldn’t misfire. I even fired it before I put it away to check if it had just being a coincidence.”

Mick said this experience was a catalyst for change. From then on, he started to get sober, began re-educating himself and helping the vulnerable in the community.

He undertook a degree in theology as was ordained as a pastor in March 2019.

He said: "Redemption didn’t come straight away, as I had to face the pain of coming off drink, drugs.

“I also had to face the horrendous pain of who I had been for most of my life.”

Since then, Mick has been active in the community establishing Burnley’s Church on The Street Ministries (COTSM), a charity which helps people affected by homelessness and addiction, around four years ago.

He said: “I have been helping people on the streets for around a decade but COTSM only became a registered charity around four years ago.

“The charity means so much to people. It keeps people alive with food banks, showers, clothes bank, professional mental health workers and more in the church.”

Mick said he is “shocked” by the public’s response to his book, which he says has been flooded with pre-orders.

Lancashire Telegraph: Blown Away: From Drug Dealer to Live BringerBlown Away: From Drug Dealer to Live Bringer

Hundreds of people liked his announcement post and have been sending messages of support and praise.

He said: “I am shocked. The publishers are pleased as they have already had a lot of pre-orders and it’s been a shock to me.

“It doesn’t come out until September and it’s already flying off the shelves.

“The book will support work we do; some of the money made will be donated to work done at the organisation.”

Mick said he hopes readers can take an important message away from the book, which is that there is always a way out of a bad situation.

He said: “No matter how bad it gets or what you’ve done, there is a way out. The book shows that you don’t have to stay trapped.

“I am someone who has suffered from addiction and profound mental health issues and I have freedom from it.

“Without a doubt there is a way out.”

The book will be published on 15 September but is available for pre-order via Amazon.