A DRUG dealer jailed for 16 years last month, after being brought to justice having fled the country, has now been deprived of more than £1,000 recovered by police from him during inquiries.

Shaun Philip Mason fled from police who suspected he was growing cannabis at an address in Pelton, County Durham, in March 2020.

He made off in a stolen Land Rover which he crashed into a police vehicle as he attempted his getaway,

Mason abandoned the car and stole a bike from a passing female cyclist to enable him to evade arrest.

Police later intercepted two parcels sent from the Netherlands containing 10kg of ecstasy, which were destined for addresses in the Pelton area.

In raids on the properties mobile phones were recovered containing encrypted messages from Mason in which he discussed arrangements for drug deliveries.

It emerged that on fleeing the country he travelled to Ireland and then Spain where he was said to involved in the export of drugs back to the North East.

But after officers from the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU) police managed to track him down through the encrypted messages an international warrant was issued for his arrest and he was extradited back to the UK.

The 32-year-old defendant, originally from South Shields, appeared at Durham Crown Court early last month, when he admitted a total of seven charges, conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, possession with intent to supply class B drugs, handling stolen goods, dangerous driving, theft and possession of a bladed article.

Officers from NERSOU hailed the sentence as sending a message to those involved in serious organised crime.

Read more: County Durham drug dealer Shaun Mason is jailed after fleeing to Spain

The case was “mentioned” again at the court yesterday (Monday June 27), a hearing the defendant chose not to be present for, over the video link, as the court heard he refused to leave his cell at HMP Northumberland.

The prosecution applied for the formal forfeiture from Mason of £1,030 recovered by police during the operation.

Sam Faulks, for the Crown, made the application under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Judge James Adkin made a deprivation order in respect of the £1,030.

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