A 'reformed' Salford gangster known as One Punch Doyle has been moved from an open to a closed prison 'as punishment' for writing a book about his life and crimes while behind bars, he says.

Paul Doyle, 63, had been housed at Thorn Cross, an open prison in Warrington, as he serves the remainder of a 16-year prison sentence handed to him in 2015 for plotting to flood the north with vast quantities of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines worth £300m.

But he has now been moved to a closed Category C prison, HMP Hindley in Wigan, where friends say he has had privileges removed and is 'on segregation'.

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He is 'being punished' for a memoir he has penned from behind bars, according to his publishers.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "He has moved locations due to breaches of his licence conditions."

Doyle used his ill-gotten gains to pay for a comfortable life in a leafy suburb of Altrincham where he raised eleven children in a £800,000 home.

His well-to-do neighbours on Wainwright Road had little idea about Salford hardman in their midst - until the police came knocking in 2014.

He bought the property in 2004 - shortly after being released from a seven-year sentence for drug dealing.

At the time he had never worked and was claiming benefits along with his wife, who falsely claimed to be a £200,000 executive to secure a mortgage.

Paul 'one punch' Doyle

However, between 2012 and 2014, after struggling to meet the £3,000 a month repayments on the mortgage, Doyle became involved in a series of major wholesale drug deals unravelled by surveillance operations involving police across the country which culminated in the raid at the home in 2014.

He has been in prison ever since, although was in an open prison with his release on licence due next year.

It was while he was at Thorn Cross open prison he finalised his book, Surviving The Madness, and spoke to the M.E.N. about his time as a criminal.

In a story we published, he urged would-be criminals to find another path.

Doyle was jailed for 16 years at Manchester Crown Court

He said: "They need to be educated into not to go down the same path as me. I understand that now.

"You can put that same energy into starting business and will most probably prosper instead of putting it into criminality."

Prison sources denied he had been 'punished' for the book itself or any of its content, insisting he had breached the terms of his licence by revealing where he was incarcerated, by engaging in 'financial transactions' associated with his book and by speaking to the media.

Doyle's publishers, On Top Media, said: "Paul feels he is being punished for the book being published essentially.

"He was taken out of an open prison and is now in Hindley with all his privileges removed. Yet no one has given him an official reason.

"He knows it's because of the book - people seem to be of the belief that he's glamorising crime but the book actually is about the ups and downs of crime and it's written in a self-deprecating way.

"Spending half his life behind bars can testify to the lows in itself.

Paul 'one punch' Doyle's former home on Wainwright Road in Altrincham

"His ultimate goal is for the book to prove that he is capable of going straight and away from crime once he's released. And more importantly help youngsters see the error of their ways.

"He just wants a new chapter in his life so going backwards in the penal system really is a smack in the face."

In his younger days, at 5ft 8in tall, Doyle was frequently underestimated by his rivals because of his size.

That all changed one night in the early 1970s at Pips nightclub in Manchester.

Police made 11 arrests following raids targeting a suspected £300million drugs conspiracy. Officers swooped at addresses in Altrincham, Prestwich, Salford and Bolton
Police swoop on Paul Doyle's home in Altrincham in 2014

When trouble erupted that night, he was at the centre of it. In quick succession, he knocked out five people who fancied their chances against him, each one felled by a single blow from Doyle's clenched, tattooed fist.

It was a spectacular outburst of violence which earned him the nickname 'One Punch Doyle'.

Asked about his nickname during his MEN interview, he said: "I pounded punch bags five hours a day when I was young.

"I mastered the art of fighting. I never really had to go into second or third gear. I was 14 stone of muscle. I learned how to throw a knuckle punch.

Paul 'one punch' Doyle on the pitch at a Manchester United away game

"People were queuing up to fight me because they thought I was an easy target. I was taking them all out. And the ones I took out early were the lucky ones."

From that moment, the underworld legend of 'one punch Doyle' was born. He was a gangster, a drug dealer, a robber and a Manchester United hooligan in a criminal career that spanned five decades, much of it spent at her majesty's pleasure.

Detectives in the city knew him as a 'handy lad' from Salford who was not to be messed with. One, after viewing CCTV of Doyle knocking someone else out, said 'it was one the best punches I've ever seen'.

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He was also feared and respected by fellow Salford criminals like Paul Massey, a fellow graduate of Salford's Catholic 'reform schools'.

Doyle still hopes to be released on licence next year.