'Tax Man' tells all in TV gangster doc.
GANGLAND "tax man" Brian Cockerill has revealed in a TV documentary how he survived a brutal ambush in which he was set upon with knives, hammers and a gun.
Street fighter Cockerill earned a fierce reputation on the streets of Teesside for "taxing" drug peddlers and using violence to steal from fellow criminals.
He claims to have seen more than 20 "tax partners" murdered over his 28-year career in the business, including former associate Lee Duffy.
But the 49-year-old has revealed how he sustained 176 stitches, lost two pints of blood and was left for dead after being lured into a pre-planned ambush.
During a TV documentary aired at the weekend detailing untold tales of the North's criminal underworld, Cockerill claims he was set upon in revenge for an attack on an underworld rival.
He said: "I walked in and about 12 lads smashed me over the head with a hammer, stabbed me in the back and put a gun to my head. I dropped a few of them and threw them about the house.
"I was about 24 stone at the time so they couldn't put me down. It went on for about 10 minutes. I was stabbed and I had 176 stitches and lost two pints of blood.
"They battered me with baseball bats and hammers and stabbed me. They left me for dead and said, 'That will be the end of him.' I went to hospital and they said if I was not so big I would probably be dead."
Brian was once a teenage bodybuilder who sank deep into an underworld of club door work and street fighting. He has admitted his role in violent attacks on Teesside's cannabis gangs in which he claims to have "taxed" dealers by stealing cash, jewellery, vehicles and gold.
He became famous as the "sixth hardest man on the planet" and claims to have taken part in 1,000 street fights without once using a weapon.
Dad-of-one Cockerill revealed his murky past during the filming of Bernard O'Mahoney's documentary, British Gangsters: Faces Of The Underworld. The episode on Quest channel detailed brutal unsolved murders and fierce street brawls as the former Essex Boys member delved into the North's criminal underworld.
Teesside hard man Brian Cockerill 49, has appeared in a TV documentary about gangsters and the underworld