Peaky Blinders actor Paul Anderson pleads guilty to crack cocaine possession

Paul Anderson’s Peaky Blinders future has been thrown into question after the actor was found with crack cocaine.

The actor, who was lined up to return as Arthur Shelby for forthcoming film adaptation of the BBC series, has been fined for possession of drugs after being found with a selection of substances in a Hampstead pub on Boxing Day 2023.

Anderson, 48, appeared in court on Thursday (25 January), where he pleaded guilty to possessing class A crack cocaine, class B amphetamines and two class C prescription substances. He was fined £1,345.

According to Mail Online, police were called after a pub manager discovered what he believed were crack cocaine fumes coming from the disabled toilet after Anderson had been in there.

The British actor, whose other credits include The Revenant and the recent Kevin Hart film Lift, was reportedly taken to a police station where crack cocaine, amphetamines, diazepam and pregabalin were found.

Anderson’s lawyer is believed to have told the court that he had not been smoking crack cocaine, saying: “He has found himself in an unfortunate position and should have had the strength to say no.”

It’s reported his lawyer added: “You will recognise the defendant from a very intense part that he has played in a recent television programme. He is often recognised and does his best to please fans of the show by slipping into character.

“He was recognised that Boxing Day and tried to play up for these people – and because of the lifestyle he leads, people often give him inducements.”

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

Peaky Blinders concluded in April 2022, with the show set to return to the big screen with a film written by creator Steven Knight. Anderson starred as Arthur Shelby, the older brother of Cillian Murphy’s Thomas Shelby, from the very first episode, which was broadcast in 2013.

Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby in ‘Peaky Blinders’ (BBC)
Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby in ‘Peaky Blinders’ (BBC)

His inclusion in the film is now in question following the fine, with an insider telling The Daily Star that it creates “huge problems” for production.

They added: “It will be so hard to have a Peaky Blinders film without such a pivotal character, while it will be tough having him reprise the role as if nothing has happened. The third option would be to cancel the entire thing.”