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The Simpler Life contestants claim drugs were found in the farmhouse

The Simpler Life contestants claim drugs were found in the farmhouse

Contestants appearing on a Channel 4 documentary series about Britson leading an off-grid Amish lifestyle alleged that other contestants smuggled contraband, including drugs, into the ranch.

In The Simpler Life, which last aired last week, a group of townspeople tried to give up all the luxuries of modern life to live on a 40-acre farm in Devon with the help of an Amish family.

However, three contestants claimed the set was full of prohibited items that other contestants had smuggled in, including hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, makeup and toiletries.

Hazel Power, 53, of Bradford, claimed that one person even sneaked cannabis onto the property one evening to smoke and that participants had been “sold a dud” by producers.

In The Simpler Life, which last aired last week, a group of townspeople tried to give up all the luxuries of modern life to live on a 40-acre farm in Devon with the help of an Amish family.

In The Simpler Life, which last aired last week, a group of townspeople tried to give up all the luxuries of modern life to live on a 40-acre farm in Devon with the help of an Amish family.

“People had access to hair dryers and within the first few months the property was in such a state that production had to give them an industrial vacuum cleaner,” she said.

“They even smoked joints at night – I went to the production and told them, but they found nothing in their search and the smoking continued until it was finished.”

Contestants Andrew and Gary Talbot-New, from Southsea, also claimed contraband had been smuggled in, but said producers were very strict about leaving the set.

Gary said, ‘It was like being in jail – you couldn’t leave the farm without an attendant and you had to have a reason to have an attendant.

Contestants Andrew and Gary Talbot-New, from Southsea, are pictured with their children and fellow contestant Hazel Power, 53, from Bradford

Contestants Andrew and Gary Talbot-New, from Southsea, are pictured with their children and fellow contestant Hazel Power, 53, from Bradford

“You knew you’d be in the spotlight, but it was a little oppressive.”

Gary, who has toured Afghanistan as a member of the armed forces and is experiencing PTSD, was sadly forced to leave the show due to the impact on his mental health.

The couple believes mental health care could have been better organized and feels disillusioned with the experience as a result.

Andrew said, “There was no provision or policy for when someone was sick. Gary told me he’d rather be back in Afghanistan than be stuck there.

“My priority was to get Gary home and keep him safe, but after that they wouldn’t let me back.

“It was a big deal — I was committed to it and wanted to stick with it to the end because I had all the time off work.”

They believe the production crew’s messages were confused and left them unsure whether to follow the strict rules of a traditional Amish lifestyle or adhere to the tenets of the Amish religion.

Hazel Power, 53, of Bradford, (pictured with contestant Darren Hollan) claimed that one person even sneaked cannabis onto the property one night to smoke and that the contestants were 'sold a dud' by producers

Hazel Power, 53, of Bradford, (pictured with contestant Darren Hollan) claimed that one person even sneaked cannabis onto the property one night to smoke and that the contestants were ‘sold a dud’ by producers

Andrew said, “The problem with the whole thing was total disorganization.

“The program was set up to meet what the production team needed – they had criteria for what they wanted to do and were willing to manipulate what was happening.

‘My biggest concern was the production team, which was completely disorganized from an HR point of view.

“It was the details and the organization that mattered and how we were treated by the production.”

Gary added: ‘In one breath it’s an experiment where they want to take a journalistic approach to what life is like and in the next breath it’s a TV show with all the headlines that go with it.

“There were notes left by the production about how they were led to almost incite individuals to do things.”

Issues raised by the group included the distribution of food between the participants, with one household reportedly hoarding more than their share.

Hazel said, “Some participants ate all their food early, so they kept coming to our house and asking for food.”

Gary (right), who has toured Afghanistan as a member of the armed forces and is experiencing PTSD, sadly had to leave the show due to the impact on his mental health

Gary (right), who has toured Afghanistan as a member of the armed forces and is experiencing PTSD, sadly had to leave the show due to the impact on his mental health

Run by an Ohio Amish family, the 'community' weny form of technology, electricity or gas

Run by an Ohio Amish family (pictured), the “community” is said to live off-grid on a 40-acre farm complete with a lake and forest, but without their phones, any form of technology, electricity, or gas

Andrew added: ‘We were told we were going to an established farm, but when we got there it was a pantry with some food in it, four goats, three sheep and 30 chickens that were not laying. I had seen more animals at a petting zoo.

“Me and Fran wanted a project plan with all the crops and proteins, but once the crops grew, they rotted because no one wanted to buy them.

“The nearest store was three miles away and to go there we had to have a chaperone and give two days notice before going.

“The people who were left there were fixing themselves up thinking they were having a brilliant experience.

“The saddest part of all this is that the people who made it to the end were fooling themselves.”

Hazel said: ‘The program went on as if the older generation were doing nothing, but it was the older ones who got up early, while the younger ones lay down for up to ten days.

“At one point all the young men put on the dresses and hats and all the young women wore the men’s outfits – it was totally disrespectful to the Amish family, who were so upset they couldn’t come out of the house.

“We came across as lazy people, but they were sunbathing all afternoon.”

Channel 4 has been contacted for comment.

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