AN EX-OFFENDER who has transformed his life will "light up Rhyl" with the message that people can change this Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Steve Ridyard, owner of Peter Ridyard's Second Hand Dealers on Water Street, will open his doors and feed the town's homeless.

Since being released from prison on June 14 2018 - after serving two years and two months of a four and half year sentence - he has been involved in multiple rehabilitation initiatives, including working with North Wales Police in Colwyn Bay to help steer fellow ex- offenders and people in danger of committing crimes in a new direction.

Mr Ridyard, 38, said: "When I was released last year, I was told to turn my life around so I have been working to help other people avoid going down the same path I did.

"Unfortunately, for a lot of people who end up in custody, they're having genuine bad luck, are genuinely homeless and genuinely just can't move forwards. There's a lack of support available to prevent people turning to crime.

"I know from my experience that you can turn it around and I just want to share my message with people from younger generations and especially reach out to the homeless."

Originally of Manchester, Mr Ridyards has lived in Rhyl for 12 and opened the business prior to being jailed.

Since returning to his business in 2018, Mr Ridyard now employs six, including offering a fresh start to another ex-offender.

The event on Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24, will see the shop open from 8pm until 10pm to offer rough sleepers food - including bacon sandwiches and fish and chips - as well as hot drinks.

Mr Ridyard is also accepting donations of winter essentials including socks, sleeping bags, quilts, coats and toiletries, which will be gifted to attendees on the night.

There is currently a £500 appeal to help fund the evening, with Mr Ridyard offering to match each donation pound for pound.

"It's Christmas, so it's the perfect time for me to open my doors and have a chat with people in need, it could prevent someone from robbing a house or going on to stab someone.

"So far, the response from people Rhyl and the town's businesses has been very positive. Let's work together to light up Rhyl with the message that people can change."

To help fund the event, visit the 'Feeding the homeless this Christmas Eve' page on Facebook.