Belfast Telegraph

New Apprentice line-up hit by heroine controversy

Contestant Natalie Hughes, from Glasgow, Scotland was accused of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine in 2012.

The new series of The Apprentice has been hit by controversy before its even aired due to the pasts of some of its new contestants.

The new line-up of wannabe entrepreneurs hoping to impress British business mogul Alan Sugar was announced Tuesday (27Sep16) ahead of next week's (beg02Oct16) first episode.

Among the competitors viciously battling it out in a series of tasks are salon owner Natalie Hughes, 30, who once faced drug charges and baker Alana Spencer, 24, who has already been forced to apologise for comments made about the travelling community.

Natalie, from Glasgow, Scotland was accused of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine in 2012, before prosecutors accepted her not guilty plea.

Her now husband and a former footballer were jailed for just over two years after pleading guilty being concerned in the supply of the drugs in 2013.

In an introductory interview for the BBC TV show, Natalie said of her past, "I'm a hustler. I've got the hustler's ambition. It's all I know. I've done it from a young age. I've been hustling with all different walks of life and all different kinds of people."

One woman going up against for the prize of a £250,000 investment in a business of their choice is Alana, who has issued an apology for posting foul-mouthed social media rants against travellers (persons of nomadic habit of life).

According to editors at Britain's Daily Star newspaper the rants, dating from 2010 and 2012, included references to "chav pikeys (a derogatory term for travellers)", "jobless pikey scum", and one in which she called a mother a "fat pikey b**ch".

Apologising for the comments, she told the paper, "I am truly sorry if my comments have offended anyone. They were the words of a naive young girl from a number of years ago and I would never write such things now.

"I was brought up in the wider travelling community by my parents, so the thought that my words could offend anyone in that community, or indeed any community, has upset me."

The 12th series of The Apprentice begins next Thursday (06Oct16), with Alana and Natalie among 18 contestants battling it out to be named the winner.

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