A DRUG dealer who fled the country in an attempt to evade justice has been jailed for more than a decade.

Shaun Philip Mason originally made off from the scene of a drugs farm in Pelton in March 2020 when officers who could smell cannabis from the street knocked on his door.

He fled in a stolen Land Rover which he crashed into pursuing police vehicles and after abandoning it, stole a bike from a lone female cyclist to get away.

Read more: Durham Police WILL investigate Starmer's lockdown 'breach'

Using these links to criminal groups, he travelled to Liverpool, Ireland and Spain where he continued his criminal operations, importing large amounts of Class A and B drugs into our region.

The Northern Echo:

Two parcels containing 10kg of MDMA from the Netherlands were intercepted but were destined for two addresses in the Pelton area.

Officers from North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU) launched an investigation into Mason and his criminal activity.

Warrants were executed at the addresses and phones and drug paraphernalia were found within.

Through interrogation of electronic devices officers were able to locate encrypted messages from Mason discussing his active arrangements for the deliveries of the drugs.

An international warrant was issued, and Mason was extradited back to the UK.

On Wednesday the 32-year-old pleaded guilty to seven charges including conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs, possession with intent to supply a Class B drug, handling stolen goods, possession of a bladed article, dangerous driving and theft.

Mason, of Old Elvet, Durham, was sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison.

Detective Sergeant Hayley Douglass of the North East Regional Special Operations Unit said: “Illegal drugs have a devastating impact not just on those vulnerable people who misuse them but the community as a whole who suffer the detrimental effects of the crimes associated to drug trafficking and the misery it brings.

Read more: Shildon man Neville Coatsworth jailed after shooting at his neighbour

The sentence justly reflects the severity of the crimes committed by MASON and sends a clear message to those involved in serious organise crime”.

We will continue to work with our partners including UKBF, the National Crime Agency and local forces to relentlessly pursue and disrupt organised crime throughout the North East as part of dedicated initiative Operation Sentinel.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054